Smile to sell more

That’s silly – I can hear you now thinking what is he on about.  I believe this for one simple reason: people BUY people.

In the, usually, less structured world of the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) there are four aspects to the buying process:

  1. does this meet the needs of my business?
  2. Does the price meet with my budget?
  3. How will this purchase make me look to my peers and my boss?
  4. Do I like the person sitting in front of me?

I don’t have any research that says what percentage of the process can be attributed to each of these (more homework for me) but what I can say is that I have never bought a business product or service off someone I didn’t like and I don’t think anyone bought off me whilst thinking I was a pratt!

Part of the process of making someone like you is your first impression.  There are lots of clichés around this:

  • You never get a chance to make a second impression
  • First impressions count
  • Etc.

Your first impression is made up of a number of aspects:

  • Did you arrive on time?
  • Are you dressed appropriately (jeans and stockbrokers rarely mix for example)?
  • What sort of handshake do you have (limp rarely equals a positive impression unless you’re royalty and shaking 100’s of hands a day)?
  • Do you look like you’re enjoying yourself?

The last is the ultimate.  If you come across as if you’re not enjoying yourself, the chances are that you don’t believe in either the product or the company.  If you don’t believe, how are you ever going to get the buyer to? A smile that starts BEFORE you enter the meeting and ends AFTER you leave will generate, in you and the buyer, a positive mental attitude.  If you don’t believe me, watch The Apprentice and see how the Irish guy, Jim Eastwood,  to see what I mean.  Whatever you think of the show and what it does to the future job prospects of these people, it is great for watching how people interact; both with their colleagues and with their customers.

So to summarise:

  • If you smile, you will look like you’re enjoying yourself
  • If you look like you’re enjoying yourself, you’ll make a good fist impression
  • If you make a good first impression, the buyer will like you
  • If they like you, you have a much better chance of making the sale

As I said at the beginning, smiling helps you sell more.

 

Improving your own business – survey results

A small survey currently being carried out on LinkedIn that looks into what people want to improve within their own business has delivered some really interesting results.  The survey is still running so I would love your input and I will update this blog to show how the results change over time.

The question was simple:  If you could better understand one thing about your business, what would it be?

In true LinkedIn spirit (with no controls on how many answers they could give) thirteen people have so far given 16 responses.

As you can see the number one response was that they wanted to understand their clients better.

They want to understand what makes them tick, why they continue to buy from one supplier, what they are looking for going forward and a bunch of other responses.

The No.2 answer was the people.  In any business the success or failure of the business is down to the people in that business. They are the delivery mechanism, the face of the business and the No.1 cost so I am almost shocked that it didn’t come out either top or closer in terms of the number of responses.

I will comment more going forward and after the question closes on the 22nd May.

Making your buyers comfortable

Short of taking a beanbag to a sales meetings how are you helping your prospects feel comfortable enough to buy from you?

Small business buyers like one, or both, of two things:

  1. stories about work you have done for companies that are similar to them
  2. examples of how you have helped companies that are local to them

This information helps them because:

  • they believe you understand their industry and the way they are different to other industries
  • they like to know you are local, or at least have people in the local area often
  • perhaps they like to support the local community.  You’ve seen the advertising campaigns encouraging us to all Buy British; perhaps they like to buy only from local companies.  Ansa Elevators is a lift maintenance company in Manchester who operates just such a policy.

My tip: understand what your client base looks like so you can tell the right stories and provide the examples needed

 

Telling the right stories

Everyone likes a story.  My little girl is obsessed with Goldilocks & the three bears at the moment and I love a Tom Clancy when I can find the time.

Buyers like to hear a good story when it benefits them, but what do you tell them?  What do they want to hear?

They want to hear stories about something that will benefit them, something that will help their company and, if possible, something that will make them look good to their boss.

Too many companies tell a story that contains these chapters:

  • Chapter One: our company has been around for a squillion years – so you can trust us
  • Chapter Two: our company makes all these widgets – aren’t they pretty
  • Chapter Three: our widgets come in red, green, blue and pink – which one do you like?
  • Chapter Four: our widgets are really cheap – how many do you want?
  • The End

Thrilling or what!

If the story went something like this:

  • Chapter One: our company’s widgets have helped 10 companies just like yours
  • Chapter Two: the little blue widget saved a company lots of money
  • Chapter Three: the little red widget helped a company improve its profitability
  • Chapter Four:  the little pink widget found them loads more customers

I reckon that Chapter Five would be about which widget the buyer wanted, when he wanted it and how much he wanted to pay for it.

The morale here- tell the right stories so that you help the buyer see what your widget can do for them

Loyal Subjects Demand Content Quality!

Wedding King Content to Queen Interest, thereby maintaining follower loyalty, is the social orb and sceptre of the search imperative. Without which, having incurred the wrath shared betwixt search engine and human visitor, your web realm would fall from grace, to such lowly rank more befitting the common spam serf farm than credible site pages!

Notwithstanding,  the emphasis on quality content now rising in the ascendency, the great challenge facing online marketing and social media messaging is the sheer volume of content hurtling through channel and platform in the attempt to engage our attention. Today’s marketing strategies are completely consumed with ensuring a brand identity and content messages reach the intended niche audience recipient. It’s less about ‘reach’ and more about ‘getting through’.

By year end 2010, the internet comprised of  around 225 million websites, of which 9.5 per cent (21.4 million) were new, with an estimated 152 million blogs  and 25 billion tweets being sent, creating ever more ‘response’ content.

Clearly, being online, onDemand, on the go, all the time – via mobile app, smartphone, tablet and kindle, netbook, laptop, PC and TV – means shifting the focus to more precisely targeted content, filtered to rise above the saturated noise frequencies.

More importantly, in the era of ‘constant distraction ’ is for eCommerce and online enterprise to find the key to visitor retention and keeping audiences on site to engage further and discover more valuable content. Today’s seasoned searchers need to be uncovering new interest from the instant they arrive or they will assume a one-trick site and disappear forever.

Simplistic solutions such as linking to ‘related content’ or ‘popular content’ or content based on a previous browsing history has shown to be of less interest because most casual content browsing is not always based on actively searching for a specific topic or even the same subject. With the exception of latest news updates, providing personalised ‘interest’ connecting with follower/visitor experience is a key stimulus.

Feedback behaviours, which will determine quality rating via blog comment, like, or tweet can serve up invaluable nuggets of information on the prevailing areas of interest and its’ relevancy, usefulness and value to a niche segment. User engagement stimulated to responding by commenting or sharing is now also noticed by the search engines and feeds in to PageRank.

Solving the challenge of overcoming information overload to optimise for content discovery entails understanding the restless movement of content via social networks, to news feeds, bookmark sites, opt-in email marketing newsletters, forums and blogs and mobile.

 

Dispensing ‘regal largesse’ can only occur by the will of the people, without which your kingdom diminishes and loyalty deserts.

 

Social Media can help disgruntled employees damage your brand

Social Media can do wonderful things for your brand image in a very short space of time. You are able to get your brand in front of the people you want to see it in a few short steps.

Twitter means that your followers’ followers get to see your tweets. Facebook business pages can consolidate various feeds to generate brand visibility and LinkedIn has a multitude of ways to promote your business: Answers, Company pages, Groups etc.

The problem is that anyone can post anything about your brand and that includes employees.

Take for example, your Company page on LinkedIn.  The company page is visible from the profile of every employee listed on the platform and so gives your business lots of marketing moments.  A problem can arise if you haven’t been careful about controlling the management of your company page.  Unless you have set it so only authorised users can make changes, anyone within your company can write anything they want.  If they write something that isn’t nice, is untrue or is simply spiteful, it can be seen from everybody’s profile until you are made aware and correct the changes.  How much damage to your brand reputation could that cause?

Protecting your Company Page

How to protect your LinkedIn company page

What do you do to stop this?

  1. Go to your Company page  and click Edit
  2. alter the standard setting shown in the image above so it reads “designated users only”
  3. Add the people you want to allow to make changes
  4. Hit “Save”
  5. Remember to alter if any of the people allowed to make changes resigns

I hope this helps and goes a little way to protecting the brand you have worked long and hard to build
Follow SME_Needs on Twitter