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adding value

The unmanaged mountain of opportunity

By A Helping Hand, Marketing Performance

Somewhere in your office is a big pile of opportunities.

It’s probably just by your monitor or it may be in a desk drawer. If you use hotdesk, it’s probably in your bag or it may even be a series of images in an app on your phone.

What I am talking about? that pile of business cards you’ve collected over the past few months and done little with.

Within this pile of business cards could be your next 5 clients. What is five new clients worth to your business? How do you make sure you don’t miss out?

Filter them

If you’re an avid networker, you’ll have a number of cards which were “forced” on you by the card collectors and distributors that inhabit every networking event. They have almost certainly added you to their mailing list, you’ll have unsubscribed and now forgotten what they do.  The B1N file is the best place for them.

Look for the ones that are most likely to be prospects or be able to introduce you to prospects.

Now add them to your database, but make it very easy for people to unsubscribe.

Segment them

Providing everyone with the same information will not help you. Dependent upon which tools you use, segment your contacts into different groups.

  • MailChimp: use data columns and segments or add them into different groups
  • For Infusionsoft, use Tags
  • For Hubspot, it’s Personas and Smart Lists

Every automated marketing tool will have its own set of tools that allow you to segment by geography, product sales, lead source,, industry sector and any number of personal criteria.

Talk to them

Finally, use the information to talk to them. Use the segmentation tools to ensure that the information you send them is relevant:

  • For clients: what other products can they buy from you?
  • For prospects: what evidence can you show them so they see you can help them with their needs? Are you running any offers to tempt them into buying?
  • For nurturing: do you have white papers or recorded webinars showing your knowledge and expertise?
  • For introducers: do they know what your Ideal Client looks like so they can introduce you?

The unmanaged mountain of business cards on your desk can deliver new business, but it takes some effort and it takes real consistency.

I hope this helps.

How to qualify your prospects as a small business

By A Helping Hand, Marketing Performance

Are your properly qualifying your prospects?

As a small business, of course you want to generate as much business as possible. Your marketing is aimed at generating as many prospects as possible. However, not every prospect is going to bring their business your way, and so it is vital that you identify which are worth your time and effort and which are not. Being a small business, you don’t have the time to entertain every single prospect; you have other tasks that need attending to. So how should you go about qualifying your prospects?

Can you provide a solution?

The prospect needs to be clear as to the exact nature of your products or services. Similarly, you need to grasp precisely what it is the prospect requires or how you may be able to provide a solution to a particular problem. There is no point in proceeding any further if the prospect is looking for something you simply do not provide, so it’s best to just walk away at the first possible opportunity. Ensure your website and any marketing material is clear and updated regularly so anyone who comes across it can easily understand what it is you offer.

Do you have the time?

This is something that is often overlooked with qualifying prospects. Yes, it may be very nice to receive an enquiry, but if you don’t have the time to fulfil it, then you need to say so from the outset. If you take on the work but know that you already have more than enough to fill your time, then some or all of it is going to suffer, and you could ultimately lose out on future business. Check with the prospect first what sort of timelines they have and then consider whether your schedule will permit the work. It is believed that most businesses have 15% pipeline close rate efficiency, meaning that time and resources go into something that 85% of the time doesn’t drive revenue – don’t let that 85% include time wasted on prospects.

Does the prospect have the funds?

The last thing you want is to press ahead with the deal only to find that they cannot pay you for the goods or services. One way of ensuring that a prospect is likely to pay is by running a credit check or gaining access to company credit reports. This can be an incredibly useful way of highlighting whether a prospect has a healthy credit history and could save you a considerable amount of time and money in the long run. Company credit reports can let you view important information such as credit rating and limit, 5 year accounts, CCJ information and full director information, as well as links through to debt scores to find which of your outstanding debts are most likely to be paid, and access to any media stories about that particular company.

Are you speaking to the decision maker?

A sure-fire way to waste time and effort is to do your dealing through someone who isn’t the main decision maker in a company. If you only speak to an assistant or someone who is not the decision maker, then you will likely have to wait for them to feed the information back to the relevant people, which takes time and could be misinterpreted. Always ask to speak to someone in authority, such as a Sales Director, and question the sincerity of a request from someone who is not willing to talk to you themselves.

These are just a few points you should consider when qualifying your prospects, and each prospect will have to be handled slightly differently, but they should give you a good basis from which to start.

 

The 6 things Potential Buyers are looking for before they will consider buying from you

By A Helping Hand, Focus

There are 100’s, if not 1,000’s, of potential buyers of your products/services out there right now and you want them to buy from you.  This is what they are looking for BEFORE they talk to Sales.

  1. Visibility – fairly obvious but if you’re not visible to them, they cannot buy from you.  They will often look to see if they can find you in other ways.  If they find you on Google, are you on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook etc.?
  2. Cleanliness – I don’t mean proof that you use a lot of soap.  What I mean is a clean website; one that is easy to read, to understand and to navigate to find the information they are looking for.
  3. Headlines – Newspapers tell millions of copies based on the headline that day, with some of them employing dedicated headline writers.  When you’re found through an internet search your landing page(s) have seconds to grab their attention or they simply bounce.
  4. Pain Relief – Buyers rarely go shopping if they are happy with what they’ve got.  Does your marketing material make them believe your solution will make their life easier or better?
  5. Evidence – You can talk the talk but can you walk the walk? Evidence, in the form of case studies, testimonials, published articles etc. develop confidence in the mind of the buyer and draw them towards you.
  6. Experience – Even new companies have experience of delivering the product or service they sell and they’re usually more passionate about it too.  After all, how many people do you know who started up a company to do something they hate?  Buyers want to know that you know what you’re doing so talk about your previous experiences to increase their confidence in you.

70% of the buying process is complete before anyone talks to Sales.  Are you helping people to make the right decision and buy from you?

 

 

Smile to sell more

By Customer Understanding

Why you need to smile 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.