Tag Archive: clients

Growing Your Small Business Sales Through Creating Connections

Growing  Your Small Business Sales Through Creating Connections
Your mission as a business owner is to develop a marketing strategy which offers your potential clients/customers a way to improve their situation in a certain way, solve a problem, provide more value, or open new opportunities for them which will motivate them to pick up the phone and buy from you. This requires that the focus of your marketing plan be placed on your customer – NOT ON YOU! Taken from The 90 Day Marketing Marathon Blunders from A to Z these ten powerful tools will support you in creating meaningful connections with your clients/customers and providing real time solutions to their challenges of the today.
1.   Custom Assessments.

By using a tool such as Assessment Generator you can build custom assessments which will allow the visitors to your website the opportunity to engage with you while providing value which is memorable.  With Assessment Generator you as the business owner will receive the basic results of the survey to see if clients are where they want to be in their lives or their businesses.
2.   Online Survey Tools.

A well-designed online survey can greatly empower business, academic, and charitable organizations by finding out quickly what is on the minds of your current and prospective customers/clients. Creating an online survey can be extremely simple and convenient with a free survey tool such as Advanced Survey or Zoomerang. By designing a survey and sending this to your database, you can poll targeted groups quickly and in detail while obtaining real time results.
3.   “Feedback” Hot Links.

As you update your website, author articles, or launch new products and services, add a “feedback hot link” to your site or to your e-mail signature. This link can state “Send me feedback” or “Send me your comments” and will automatically link to an e-mail which can be used for your website visitors to provide you with insight into what is working and what is not with your products and services. The key is to make communicating with you as easy as possible.
4.   Weblogs With Comments.

A weblog is a simple yet compelling online environment, which will allow you to put your thoughts, ideas, and experiences on the web via a journal, photo album, or diary. With a tool such as Typepad you can provide your clients and customers with access to your online journal AND allow them the ability to comment to your posts. If you are blogging around a topic which creates discussion or a topic which can generate ideas for your new products and services, you will find that blogging with a tool which allows for comments will take your products and services to a more advanced and sophisticated level quickly and with the support of your customers/clients.
5.   Client Scenarios That Create an Emotional Tug.

What are the typical challenges of your clients, what do they complain about to others, and what do they really want in life? Do they say things such as:
·    I am a CEO, and I cannot seem to motivate my team.
·    I am a pet owner, and I am looking for a Veterinarian I can trust.
·    I am a Solopreneur who is working for a lunatic.
·    I am a business owner who is looking to invest my money to double my financial wealth.
·    I am a new college graduate, and I am looking for the career of my dreams.

By honing in on what’s most important to your website visitors and actually posting these for the world to see, you will begin to connect with these folks in a way which calls the emotions to be tapped.  List these client scenarios in bullet form on your website, and link each scenario to a very tangible benefit of what you can offer.

Example: If you are marketing to pet owners who are looking for a Veterinarian he/she can trust, link this client scenario to a special report on “The Top Ten Questions to Ask When Hiring a Veterinarian for Your Pet.”
6.   Data Driven Landing Pages.

Landing pages, also known as “jump” pages in the world of marketing, are self-contained web pages that visitors are driven to for a specific purpose (usually for the purpose of collecting e-mail addresses.)  Landing pages are very focused and usually contain a message, in most cases to allow you as the web host to determine what visitors click on as well as other statistics.  A data driven landing page contains a form requesting the user to enter contact information, usually in order to get something, such as a free special report, newsletter, or to register for an upcoming event. By including a question on this page such as “What is the thing you most want in the area of _______________” (fill in the blank) you will be able to see trends of what folks most want, which can be key to the growth of your business.
7.   A Research and Development Team.

A Research and Development team is a group of people you invite to join you in developing your products, programs, and services.  Your R & D Team may be as small as ten people or as large as 1,000 people. It is recommended that you call on your R & D team at least two times per month, as they will provide you with valuable information about what is working/not working in your business, and they will tell others about what you are up to.  As your business grows, you will want to continue to add people to your list so that you have a cross section of people, ideas, and perspectives from people from all walks of life and all corners of the globe.
8.   A Mastermind Group.

The purpose of a mastermind group is to share thoughts, ideas, opinions, and information.  To be successful in business, it is important for this group to be supportive and to care enough about you and your business to provide you with honest feedback about what they see is possible for your business.  Spend at least one hour per week with your mastermind group, and use the feedback gained to grow your life, both personally and professionally.
9.   A Product/Service Development Team.

Are you ready to develop a new product or service, and you just don’t know where to begin or how to make it happen?  If so, invite ten of the coolest people you know to support you in developing the new product or service in exchange for a slice of the pie once the product/service is launched.  People love to share their wisdom, especially when they know that they are involved in development of something that will be financially rewarding in the end.
10. Risky Business.

One time per month, add one product or service that is out of the norm or a little bit risky for you and your business.  Why?  Because it will keep your mind moving and will allow your customers to sample something which is cutting edge and exciting!  Example: You are a bookstore owner, and you host a “Mystery Night.”  Invite the public to preview the 12 hottest mysteries by attending a masquerade party on the premises of your bookstore – loads of fun, intrigue, and excitement.  A suggestion/comment box can be situated near the door, inviting guests to contribute feedback and ideas for the next big event for your biz.

Using the Law of Attraction To Attract People To Your Business

Using the Law of Attraction To Attract People To Your Business
Have you ever had something you wanted just fall into place; come to you through an out-of-the-blue phone call or by coincidentally meeting someone on the street? Have you ever met the perfect client or life partner–just by being at the right place at the right time?

Many of us have various ways to describe this phenomenon; serendipity, coincidence, fate, karma, luck, it was meant to be, self-fulfilling prophecy, what comes around goes around, and success breeds success. All of these expressions describe what is known as the Law of Attraction.

Law of Attraction can be defined as: You attract to your life whatever you give your attention, focus and energy to, whether wanted or unwanted.

If you wish to attract more money, referrals, clients, contracts, business partners, or anything else your heart desires, it is essential to understand the workings of the Law of Attraction.

The first step is to know more about our use of Declarative Statements and how they contribute to Law of Attraction. A Declarative Statement is a positive statement of what we want to attract, that elevates our mood or feeling. Examples include: “I love the way money comes to me effortlessly in expected and unexpected ways.”, “It feels so good knowing that business comes to me in all seasons.” and, “I love the way my reputation attracts clients to me.”

When people fail, it’s often because they have unconsciously made Declarative Statements to themselves that are negative, such as: “Money comes in one hand and out the other.”, “I take one step forward and two steps back.” or, “My business slows down during the summer months.” These statements have negative feelings and moods attached to them.

Re-read the definition of Law of Attraction: We attract into our lives whatever we give our attention to, whether wanted or unwanted. Law of Attraction responds to these negative feelings and gives us more of them. Law of Attraction does not know whether it is something you want or not; it simply responds to your mood or feeling and gives you more of it.

Each time you hear yourself make a Declarative Statement that does not serve you, simply restate it and offer a better mood or feeling. Here is a quick way to turn a negative statement into a positive Declarative Statement.

Simply ask yourself: “So, what do I want?”

The moment you define what you do want, you start to experience a new mood or feeling, and Law of Attraction will respond to this better mood or feeling.

Over the next few days, start to notice what is appearing in your life, that is, what you are attracting. Then think back to what mood or feeling you may have offered that could have attracted what appeared. You’ll soon find yourself manifesting more and more of what you do want, and less of what you don’t want, by deliberately putting the Law of Attraction to work for you.

Simple Sales Strategy: Define What Selling Is!

Simple Sales Strategy: Define What Selling Is!

imple Sales Strategy:  Define What Selling Is!Simple Sales Strategy: Define What Selling Is! How do you define selling? A lot of people think of selling as persuading/convincing people to buy things they may or may not want or need. To some, selling is all about closing a deal. Thinking of selling like this is not very empowering to you. Frankly, if you have this perspective on selling, it’s no wonder if you hate it. I would too!

So what perspective can you take about selling that will make it enjoyable, exciting and something you look forward to? Sounds like a bit of a tall order doesn’t it? Read on. 

Hopefully by now, you have made the list of all the problems that you can solve for your target market. You’re going to be surprised how long that list grows over time. So really, if you look at your list and you think about it, you are a master problem solver. What you’re really doing is helping people. Correct?

So try on this perspective about what selling is: Selling is helping people. Selling is serving. Selling is a process of identifying and solving people’s problems. 

See, feel and know that selling is serving. This will cause a big shift for you. With this perspective, you will really become passionate about wanting to help people. Find this passion and let it shine through.

It is your purpose, your moral obligation, to have as many sales conversations with people as you can so you can help as many people as possible. If you’re not having these types of sales conversations, you are holding back the gift you have to offer the world. You owe it to people to be there for them with your expertise and wisdom.

Next time you’re talking to a potential client, think about how you can help them, how you can serve them. Forget about trying to sell them something. If what you have to offer does solve their problems, and you facilitate the conversation using the strategies we are covering, people will sell themselves and will subsequently buy from you.

If you have a perspective on selling which is one of service and helping people, how do you think the people you’re talking to will feel? Think about this: people hate to be sold. The minute they feel they’re being sold, they often want to get away – fast. Don’t you? On the other hand, if they feel you are sincerely trying to help them solve their problems, they will relax and open up to you.

If you have a perspective on selling which is one of service and helping people, how do you think you will feel? Does energized, excited, relaxed, and natural come to mind?

This perspective is simple but powerful and very attract-tive to clients. imple Sales Strategy: Define What Selling Is!

This article is sponsored by Apple Capital Group, Inc. If you are looking for business financing, please call Apple Capital Group’s offices at 866-611-7457 or go to www.applecapitalgroup.com. #applecapitalgroup #thecorecorebusinessshow #timjacquet

Being Punctuality in Business: What it Says About You

Being Punctuality in Business: What it Says About You

Being Punctuality in BusinessBeing Punctuality in Business: What it Says About You. Nothing inspires confidence in a business man sooner than punctuality, nor is there any habit which sooner saps his reputation than that of being always behind time.”  (W. Mathews) Being Punctuality in Business

Being tardy can be a serious marketing blunder for today’s business owner.  From being late to meetings with a colleague or client, to not delivering your product or service on time, tardiness speaks volumes about who you are and how you do business.  If you want customers to choose to do business with you, you must meet their expectations for performance.  If you can’t meet deadlines for delivering products and services, customers will quickly find their way to your competitors.  Being Punctuality in Business

Being Punctuality in Business: What does being punctual say about you?

1.  You care.  Showing up and on time is one of the best ways to show someone that you care about them.  By keeping our commitments to others, we are acknowledging them and their needs.  Caring about our customers must be our number one priority since it is through our relationships that we build our business.  No one knows how much you care until you show them … by showing up. Being Punctuality in Business

2.  You respect others.  Horace Mann said, “Unfaithfulness in the keeping of an appointment is an act of clear dishonesty. You may as well borrow a person’s money as his time.”  Arriving on time for customer meetings, speaking engagements, meetings with vendors, or anything else you do in your business, shows that you respect others.  Respect is the foundation for creating great long-term relationships with your clients.  Being Punctuality in Business

3.  You are professional.  Thomas C. Haliburton said, “Punctuality is the soul of business.”   As a business professional, you have a toolkit of knowledge and behaviors that serve to create an aura of professionalism.  Being on time is a fundamental tool for anyone who wants to be perceived as being the very best. Being Punctuality in Business

4.  You are confident.  When you show up on time, it’s a sign that you are confident to take on whatever might lay before you.  Tardiness can imply that you aren’t confident, that you are hesitating to deal with a person or situation, possibly because you don’t have the skills, knowledge or tools to create a successful outcome.  Confidence is the companion of success, and by showing up on time, you’re putting yourself one step closer to achieving it. Being Punctuality in Business

5.  You are ready to receive others.  Punctuality says to others, “I’m ready”.  It implies that you are open to allowing more into your life.  You’re ready to meet with a client to discuss business.  You’re ready to deliver a presentation.  You’re ready to be involved with whatever is set before you.  People who “aren’t ready” tend to show up late or not at all. Being Punctuality in Business

6.  You have an edge.  Being punctual gives you an edge in business.  Undoubtedly you’ve heard the proverb, “The early bird gets the worm”, or in our case, the work.  In today’s competitive business climate, timing is everything.  With businesses moving at the speed of light thanks to the latest technologies, delay of any sort can cost you clients.  Being punctual is great; being early is even better! Being Punctuality in Business

7.  You’re in control.  Not only do people choose to do business with those who they like, know, and trust, they also like doing business with people who are in control. Business owners who always arrive early or on time to appointments give the impression that they manage things well.  It gives customers the impression that you are reliable in everything that you do.  People want to do business with people who are in control.Being Punctuality in Business

8.  You have a standard for excellence.  Punctuality is a standard for operating excellence.  Not only does it imply that you are in control of your business, it shows that you respect yourself and others.  Successful, well-liked business owners typically have punctuality as one of their highest values.  In a business world where rules are constantly changing, showing up on time will always be at the top of the list when it comes to standards of excellence.Being Punctuality in Business

9.  You keep things in flow.  When you are on time or when you deliver your products and services on time, you keep things in flow.  Other people and events are affected by what you do and don’t do.  If you don’t show up or if you don’t deliver as promised, you can adversely affect the plans of others.  By showing up on time, you allow other people and things to show up on time as well.  Everybody wins. Being Punctuality in Business

10.  Your habit is your brand.  Over time, if you deal with the same person or groups of people, you will become known as someone who is punctual.  You will be perceived as a business professional who respects others and who is confident and in control.  This natural way of being will take on a life of its own and become part of your business branding.  Being Punctuality in Business

6 New Year’s Small Business Resolutions

 6 new year's business resolutions

2012 New Year Small Business Resolution

While we are all familiar with the making of personal New Year’s resolutions (maybe too familiar!) a recent and emerging trend is to make New Year’s small business resolutions. The challenge of course is that, like personal resolutions, we want our small business resolutions to stick.

So how do we do that? Experts say that people who are able to make and keep resolutions know not to bite off more than they can chew. Here are a few simple, easy-to-implement, small business resolutions that can make a big difference this year:

1. Create a board of advisors: Small business entrepreneurs generally like to help each other. By creating your own small business board of advisors you can give the people in your life a way to help you. Your lawyer, small business colleagues, or even your friends can all be part of an informal board. Even if it is as simple as hosting a dinner twice a year, you can create an invaluable way to receive important feedback, spark some new ideas and have discussions that could help your small business. For example, I have a friend who hosts a pizza party whenever he has a new idea; he uses the opportunity to share his thoughts and gauge the reaction of his panel.

2. Find a mentor: While, like a board, mentors can also offer valuable feedback, they can do so much more. Mentors make introductions, open doors and teach valuable lessons. If you don’t have a mentor, finding one should not be difficult; it is just a matter of asking. Last week, an associate asked me to mentor him and I was flattered. Whomever you ask will likely feel the same way.

3. Get bigger and better clients: With budgets continuing to be tight, consider looking for clients with bigger budgets – such as government contractors or corporate clients. You may think that this wouldn’t work for your business. Consider this: even mini-marts whose customers are almost exclusively individual consumers could try and land some commercial accounts.

Why not you too? Target some businesses that need what you sell. Make a presentation and pitch them. Try some more. Think differently. Get out there.

4. Give yourself a raise: With the economy being what it has been, many small businesses have kept a lid on fees and prices for years. Well, maybe this is the year to raise prices a bit, nothing dramatic, but enough so that you can increase your bottom line.

5. Create a referral rewards program: It is simple, yet so effective. Your best business often comes from referrals. Check out the option of creating a consistent system for staying in touch with current customers, and then rewarding them when they send new business your way.

6. Bust a move: Many small businesses have been retrenching, waiting and holding back the past few years. While it might be a smart strategy right now, it is against our nature as entrepreneurs. There just may be pent up demand for something new, different and better this year. Find those new customers and attack new angles.

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There’s No Business like Trade Show Business

Despite the fact that a significant portion of business marketing has gone digital, trade shows are still a common tactic – 9,000 per year in the United States alone. They can be particularly valuable for owners of smaller businesses who may not have the budget to travel to widely dispersed customers but can benefit from seeing many of them in one place. If you’re grappling with how to allocate your marketing budget, perhaps it’s time to consider “putting on a show.”

Here’s some direction on how to produce your show to ensure your time is well spent:

Be a good “Producer”

The right Setting: Any gathering that includes your target audience and relevant media

The right Timing: Concurrent with a new product launch or offering, change in strategic direction or major personnel change

The right Cast: Senior executives, sales people and the product marketing staff;

Supporting cast: Public relations representatives and administrative staff

Don’t forget “Rehearsal”

What you do before the trade show’s doors open is perhaps most important. Considerable thought should be put into the messages you broadcast in your trade show booth signage, relevant news stemming from the previous year and what your main “news” will be for customers and prospects. Bear in mind that 70 percent of trade show attendees plan which booths they will visit in advance so you should send out invitations to your booth and arrange speaking appearances to key customers. This will ensure that you maximize your time at the show talking to the people with whom you want to build business relationships.

Put some thought into “Set Design”

Whether you have the budget for an over-the-top booth with a lot of bells and whistles, or a simple 10×10 table and chair set up, you need to make your booth as inviting and user friendly as possible. Signage should use a large, easy-to-read typeface with one simple benefit-oriented message per sign. Any decorations or gimmicks should dovetail with brand attributes. Tables and chairs should have a use and not block entrance to your booth. Particularly in a crowded or loud section of the trade show floor, having a booth that is welcoming and interesting can draw people in.Give an award-winning “performance”

Be sure to staff your booth with your best and most engaging representatives. Booth staff should be trained to deliver a scripted customer greeting, pull off a convincing “elevator pitch” on your company and key products, and utilize techniques for getting information on customers’ business issues. Remember that, for every 10 square feet of space you have, you only have four seconds to engage a customer. Once you’re involved in a conversation, quickly find out who the person is, what they are looking for at the show and whether there might be a synergy with your company. If it’s a good match, steer them toward booth personnel designated to do product demos or provide additional information on your business services.

Don’t overdo the “props”

In today’s budget-conscious world, corporate giveaways without any value are considered wasteful. If you are set on giving something away, keep a few thoughts in mind: Perhaps you can keep the tchotchkes hidden and only give them to prospects with whom you’ve had a conversation. Alternatively, invest in a giveaway that will do some free advertising for you, e.g. a well-made tote bag that can be carried around the trade show floor, or one that highlights your brand’s best qualities.

Earn “good reviews”

To garner media attention, be sure to work the show’s media list and find out what stories are already planned so you can be part of them, if appropriate. Consider giving advance notice on a major product announcement to one or two key publications that can break the story on the day your product is unveiled. Don’t forget to study the editorial calendars of key trade publications to see if your product announcement might be included in any roundups they’re planning. And be sure to target the show magazine or newspaper with new product and service launches. Finally, don’t forget to prepare media kits that include key product announcements, company backgrounders and fact sheets. These can be handed to select media at the show, or housed on a trade show-specific website connected to your company site.

Make sure the show’s “a hit”

The difference between a successful trade show and a waste of money lies primarily in the follow-up. Collecting business cards, scanning badges and getting prospects excited about your company are all of limited use if you don’t make contact after the show. For particularly hot prospects, you may want to follow up with a gift or a special offer within a few weeks. For others who say they may need your services in the future, keep following up on a regular basis for up to two years.

If trade shows are a dedicated part of your marketing budget, remember that you can’t just show up and hope for the best. Do your homework and come prepared to make the most out of your time. Do you typically attend trade shows? Why or why not?

5 Innovative Ways to Generate New Business

In his great book The E-Myth, Michael Gerber says that many small business owners spend too much time working in their business and not enough time working on their business. Why is working on our business so important?

Because clients and customers leave.

They leave for all sorts of reasons – maybe they don’t need you anymore, or they found what you do somewhere else that is more convenient or cheaper, or they moved, or whatever. Working on your business means it is not a crisis when a customer leaves.

Here then are five innovative ways to work on your business – to grow your business – without breaking the bank:

1. Tap into the Power of Testimonials: Satisfied customers can be one of a small business’ best marketing tools. A testimonial impresses potential customers because it is an independent third-party validation that a business really is as good as it claims to be.

So get out there and ask some of your best customers to write you some letters of recommendation on their stationary. Then you can take these testimonials and:

Put them in your shop window
Add them to your website
Add them as an email tagline
Use them on your blog or e-newsletter
Use them in sales presentations

What about adding a video testimonial to your website? Talk about making an impact.

2. Boost Your Word-of- Mouth Advertising: We all know that word –of-mouth is the best sort of advertising there is. But aside from just waiting or hoping that a customer passes your name along, you can:

Create a referral reward system that gives customers a discount when they refer you business
Encourage comments on your Facebook page, blog or website
Ask your best customers to recommend you

Finally, check out the organization Le Tip; a group whose purpose is to foster word of mouth referrals.

Click here to read more articles from small business expert Steve Strauss.

3. Stay in Touch: One way to make a one-off customer into a loyal, repeat customer is to remain top of mind. If you want to get repeat business, your customer has to think of you when he or she has a need. They will more likely think of you if you gently, consistently (but not too often) stay in touch with them.

Here are two ways to do this:

Social media is all the rage for a reason: It works. Creating a Facebook page for instance is easy, and through contests and great content, you can get people to “like” it. Thereafter, that page becomes a friendly place to stay in touch. Tweeting can also be used.
Email marketing is a great way to stay in touch because it is permission marketing, that is, by signing up to receive your e-newsletter; customers are giving you permission to stay in touch with them.

4. Sell gift certificates and gift cards: You see gift cards for sale everywhere these days – at the market, in department stores, heck, I even saw some for sale recently at my car wash. Bottom line: Gift cards sell, it is estimated that up to 10 percent of all holiday sales now are in the form of gift cards.

Gift cards cannot only be used by large businesses. Any small business can and should create them as well. Also, if you currently accept debit and credit card payments, check with your card processor to see if they offer a gift card program.

5. Up-sell, but do it right: As you likely know, up-selling is the art of having a customer buy more than their initial purchase. Up-selling, when done wrong, is annoying, but when done right can help both you and your customer. The key is to offer the item in a helpful, non-aggressive way, i.e., “Did you know that if you buy two more gift soaps, we throw in another one for free?” If they say they are not interested, don’t pursue it any further, or you may be seen as overbearing and pushy.

What types of approaches do you use to get new business? What have you found that works/doesn’t work? Share your tips with the SBOC community below.

About Steve Strauss

Steve Strauss is one of the world’s leading small business experts. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. Steve is also the author of the Small Business Bible and his latest book is Get Your Business Funded: Creative Methods for Getting the Money You Need. A popular media guest, Steve is a regular contributor to ABC News Now and frequently appears on television and radio. His business, The Strauss Group, creates unique, actionable, entertaining, and informative multi-media small business content.

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here.