It doesn’t matter how small or large your business is, you’re bound to make some mistakes at some point. Mistakes, in general, can be viewed as learning experiences. As long as they’re not too costly, you can get back up, deal with them the right way, and move forward. Forbes explains that the first step in dealing with business mistakes is to “own up” and not try to hide from them.
Some of the worst mistakes concern sales. Not only are the sales themselves compromised, but the entire business.
Here are some of the mistakes that you should avoid making if you are serious about selling:
TALKING but not LISTENING
It will be really bad for your brand if you have a reputation of a pushy salesperson. Even if you have the greatest product in the world, you won’t be able to sell it if all you do is brag about it. Give the customers a chance to talk as well. Listen to what they have to say. Otherwise, you won’t know exactly what it is they want and won’t be able to give them a solution to their problem. Sales involves knowing what questions to ask and listening to the answer, not simply talking.
Wasting too much time with the wrong contact
This is why demographic research is essential. Not just anybody will be interested in your product. If you just invested in high-end, commercial digital printing press machines from JJBender.com, why would you try to resell it to an ordinary consumer who just needs a personal inkjet printer? Instead, you should focus on businesses that require digital printing press solutions. When trying to deliver a sales pitch to the wrong consumer, not only will you not make the sale, you will miss out on the chance to make money by marketing toward the right consumer.
Attempting the “wow!” factor too much
You don’t need to use theater to sell a product. In fact, it’s for the best that you don’t. In the vast majority of cases, people want to buy something that will actually need rather than buying something simply for the pleasure of it. It’s your job to explain how your product will solve their current needs. If you feel that a Xerox printer you just bought in from JJ Bender will be an answer to a small business’s commercial printing needs, let them know. Explain how and why.
Using the wrong words
Be very careful with your wording when trying to make a sale. You don’t want to create a negative picture in the minds of the people to whom you are delivering a sales pitch. For example, avoid using “contract”, as it makes it sound as though the sale is final. Instead, opt for a word like “agreement”. Entrepreneur.com has a list of other words you should avoid saying.
Not recognizing the appropriate time to close the sale
If you don’t know when to close the sale and keep going on and on and on, you’re doing it wrong. You’ll lose the sale, even if the customer was originally planning to go through with it. Signs that a customer is interested include questions such as “Is it in stock right now?” or “Is there a delivery charge?” as well as a statement such as “That really would look good in our office”.
A dishonest person shouldn’t be in sales to begin with. However, there is a possibility that you could come off as insincere without even realizing it. Always be very careful with what you say and your attitude when you say it.
Keep these factors in mind whenever you want to sell anything. Strive to be sincere and a good listener.
Marketing is one of the most critical functions of your small business. An effective plan converts customers and helps your business be a success. Developing a robust marketing plan is necessary for exposing your product to customers.
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Let’s look at the framework that a killer marketing strategy should have.
To find out whether your product or service is of value to your customer, you should take into account several points as part of the validation process:
- How large the market is from the local, national and global aspects
- Whether your market opportunity is large or small
- How often people purchase the given product you offer
- Whether your customers are going to buy on a daily/weekly/monthly/yearly basis or every 5-10 years
All these questions will help you determine whether you have a sustainable product and build your marketing plan and tactics.
Your Target Market
Figuring out your target market will help your product/service sell. Importantly, you shouldn’t serve everyone. You should focus on developing a specific customer profile by taking into consideration:
- The type of customer
- The income of your customers
- The gender and age of your customers
- Your customers’ location
- Your customers’ level of education
- The position your customers hold
- The physical characteristics of your customer
- Whether your customers are educated or not
Get to know your customer better so to increase your chances of making the sale.
Explaining the features of your products/services is not enough. You should be able to explain the benefits of your products/service so to create value to the customer. For this, find out the qualities your customers value most and least about your service.
Your marketing strategy should be customer focused or based on the so-called WIIFM approach (What’s In It For Me?). This will help you differentiate yourself from the crowd.
Competition in Your Market
Who are your competitors and how can you deal with them? Do your best not to have your message lost. For this, you should focus on:
- Your competitive advantage
- What makes your product/service be different and better
- Why you are special to your customers
- Why a customer should hire you
To create a successful marketing plan, validate your market, define your target customer base, develop customer value, and figure out your strengths from your competitors.
Like it or not, consumer behavior has changed (not changing, changed), and the minimum requirement to successfully operate in the world of retail is an online presence. The more robust your presence, the better. With most of these stores being independent of family run, however, the transition can be difficult.
For a small business owner, the first step is to decide whether you need an individual online store or website. While this can seem counter-productive to the task, the solution is more nuanced. Established auction sites which consumers already know and trust.
By utilizing the familiar framework of established auction sites, small retailers can immediately gain access to a global active marketplace. Additionally, while once focused on building a brand, these sites have now become aware of the power of their platform and can provide purpose-designed software to help any small business make the move to their platform. This assistance also extends to transaction processing, leveraging bulk customers to help keep ongoing costs down.
The trick to this transition, however, is to be aware that you are moving into a different retail world and adjust your marketing techniques. The Groupon Coupons page for Madewell is a perfect example, as the discounts available are connected with their online store. While Madewell host their own website, the same technique applies for stores using the framework of an auction site – online marketing directed towards bringing customers to their online presence.
Where previous promotions were geared towards foot traffic, Madewell adjusted their marketing techniques to bring in click traffic.
Once a small business has made the transition and is either working wholly or partially through a web presence, adjustments need to be considered for the bottom line. For example, customers are well aware of the cost savings of hosting an online store and expect some (not all) of the difference to impact the product price. Whether this is in the form of individual item reductions or inclusions such as free shipping or a relaxed returns policy.
With the above foundations in place, small business owners are in a prime position to rival their local and global competition. However, what many of these business owners struggle to accept is that their online presence is a new world for them, and accordingly, their current management and sales styles may not work. For this reason, many small businesses who successfully make the transition and unable to sustain their business or encourage growth because of misaligned management styles.
While on paper the process can seem straightforward, the nuances of small businesses can make the transition difficult. For those looking to make the move, take this article to mind and be sure to adjust your business style accordingly.
Like it or not, marketing is a costly business. It’s always good business sense to look for ways to either cut marketing spending or increase the amount you are getting back. Investopedia refers to return on investment as a “rudimentary gauge” of how profitable an investment can be.
If your investment isn’t showing as much profitability as you’d like, consider these tips:
Analyze your engagement metrics and total media value – This begins with measuring your content performance. Not only do you need to track content performance, you also need to discover which pieces are actually performing effectively so that you can better tailor future content. How many social shares are your content pieces getting? What is the bounce rate? Are people actually leaving after a couple of seconds or staying long enough to read the information? Are readers moving on to other pages and reading them as well? All of these factors need to be looked into. As for TMV, determine how much each piece of content is worth. How much value are you getting with a single Tweet or Facebook post?
Don’t neglect Google Remarketing – If you are using AdWords as part of your marketing strategy, take advantage of remarketing opportunities. Just make sure you are doing it correctly in order to get the most from it. Ideally, set up custom combinations to target two types of customers: those who have visited your company’s site, spent some time on it, but did not perform the call-to-action, and those who have begun the call-to-action but did not complete it.
Conduct A/B testing – Also sometimes called split testing, this concept involves comparing two versions of an ad or web page. The idea is to evaluate the performances of each ad/web page version and to determine which one brings in better results. A/B testing allows you to make better internet marketing decisions. It doesn’t even have to cost very much, and it offers an opportunity to increase your ROI.
Get to know your customers better – When paying attention to your customers and leads, you will be able to identify their concerns and offer an answer to those concerns through your marketing. Even if you’ve done research on your targeted demographic(s) in the past, consumer needs are always changing. One way you can get some customer insights is to simply monitor their social media activities. Take advantage of social media interaction opportunities by asking them what they want and what kind of solutions they are looking for.
Fix up your landing page – Is your landing page optimized properly? Is the value of the offer explained clearly? When creating content, you must provide an answer to the question “What is in it for the customer?” Follow the “5 second rule”: within 5 seconds, a visitor to the landing page should be able to ascertain the value of the offer, what it is, and what call-to-action they need to perform to get that offer. It should also LOOK nice with an attractive template and layout.
Look for a marketing solution with a corporate trade organization – If you don’t have access to all of the tools you need to evaluate your marketing efforts efficiently, consider partnering with a company like Sherwood Integrated Solutions, due to their experience and ability to integrate media services with corporate trade.
Your return on investment depends on how you create, manage, and implement your marketing strategy. Don’t underestimate the importance of analytics, as they allow you to measure the effectiveness of every marketing tactic you implement.
With 20.2 million people involved in an industry that makes more than $36.12 billion annually, network marketing, also known as multi-level marketing (MLM) or direct-selling, is one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S. economy. Knowing how to grow a successful network marketing team can help you shine in this incredibly challenging market. With these three tips you can learn strategic ways to build a group of stellar network marketing professionals.
1. Choose Wisely
Building a powerhouse team is an exciting endeavor and it’s easy to get carried away when it comes to decision making. But when it comes to selecting people for you team, you must choose carefully. Look for these four elements in prospective marketing team members:
- Stability: Does the person have a stable work history? The last thing you’ll want is to spend time training someone who leaves have a few months. To build a successful team, you need people who are dedicated to setting and reaching long-term goals.
- Attributes: Do they have the friendly mannerisms and work ethic to land sales? Do they seem to come off as too pushy, salesy, or desperate? While training can help team members fine-tune these skills, ensuring that they have what it takes to be in sales is critical.
- Pay: What do these salespeople expect to earn with your team? Is this number realistic? Sticking to your pay plan is critical and by being transparent with prospective members, both you and your team won’t have any surprises in the future.
- Experience: How much experience does this person have? Do they have a good track record? Again, while it’s possible to train stellar sales reps, selecting individuals who have prior experience give you the opportunity to create strong leadership amongst members.
Deni Robinson, a Triple Diamond Sales Executive at ASEA, built her network marketing team from the ground up. She says that building a rock-star sales team is a lot like building a house. “When you build a house, you rely on the talents of other people, and so I looked for people who talented and good at what they did. I’ve used that same philosophy in building my ASEA business; I look for people who do things much better than I do.”
Don’t be afraid to get selective when hiring people to be a part of your team. Though at times the process might be uncomfortable and complicated, you’ll thank yourself when you have a group of stand-out network marketers that represent you and your business in the best possible way.
2. Never Stop Training
Constantly seeking further education, training, seminars, and conferences will help you and your team stay ahead of emerging industry trends, learn from others who’ve found success, and keep a competitive edge. “When I opened my mind, I really started seeing things differently. I became coachable and learned from the people who already were successful,” said Mike Maser, an ACN Circle of Champions Member.
By opening yourself up to the lessons and guidance of other mentors, you can help both you and your team succeed. After all, in an industry that’s designed for your best interests, network marketing wants you to succeed and, if you can take advantage of it properly, you will. Lead your team by example; attend meetings, start roundtable discussions, go to seminars, read books. Whatever you do, don’t let yourself get complacent or stuck in a one-track-mind. If you won’t be willing to listen and be taught by the ways of the system, your team members won’t either.
3. Create Goals and Take Action
Lastly, without setting goals or establishing benchmarks, you won’t stand a chance when it comes to growing your network marketing team. Begin by inspiring your team members to set individual goals by setting your own.
- Where do you want to be in six months?
- Where do you want to be in six years?
- How are you going to reach these goals?
- What resources do you have to help you along the way?
Then come together as a team and create group goals. Be sure to clearly define benchmarks and an affirmative action plan to help you get there.
Again, one of the best ways you can reach your goals is to stay on top of your game; improve presentations, fine-tune conversation skills, find new ways to empower others and help them find success. Remember that there is always more room for growth in network marketing and in order to grow your team, you first need to grow your skills and strive to reach goals.
Beborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com says that setting goals also help to estabilsh a culture of accountability within your team. “Set specific goals and follow-up. If the goals are not met, then the sales team does not have directing. If there is no follow-up and accountability, then they will not strive to meet those goals. With reachable goals and accountability along the way, the efficiency of a sales team is drastically improved,” she said.