Jul 302012
 

Reading this book made will help you realize how much you enjoy growing your service business. This book did a great job at reminding me of some of the core elements to marketing a service business along with great insight on how to continue to build and grow a service business.

My 3 take aways for reading this book.

1. Yes, build the quality into your service, but make it less risky too.

The best thing you can do for a prospect is eliminate their fear. Offer a trial period of a test project. People typically are not looking for the service that they want the most, instead they are looking for the one they fear the least. People do not choose a good experience, they tend to choose  to minimize the risk of a bad experience.  We see this all around us. The success of franchise’s are proof of people making choices to minimize the risk of a bad experience.

2. The warranty of a Brand. What is a brand?

A brand is more than a symbol. In the public’s eye, a brand is a warranty. It is a promise that the service carrying that brand will live up to its name, and perform. A service is a promise, and building a brand builds your promise. Building a brand makes selling faster, easier, and cheaper. The amount of  time people have in America today is shrinking. Companies have down-sized their staffs and upsized the workloads of all the survivors. These people need short cuts every waking minute. They turn to service and product brands.

3. Today’s good idea will almost always beat tomorrow’s better one.

Do it now. The business obituary pages are filled with planners who waited. Moving organizations tend to keep moving. Dormant ones tend to run out of air and die. Not-moving creates more not-moving. By the time the delayed consequences of all this not-moving occur-one of which is that action-oriented people in the company flee the company, making the company even more waiting-orientated- it often is too late to correct them. Act like a shark. Keep moving.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 

 July 30, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Growth Tagged with: , , , , ,  3 Responses »
Jul 232012
 

sales, sales people, conversion rate, follow-up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 ways to boost your sales right now, this week …

  1. Get your salesperson with the best conversion rate to train everybody else for a day or two.
  2. Script your sales process. Use a lot of questions in the script (it’s NOT a sales pitch) and learn from what the best sales people are doing.
  3. Break your sales process down into each and every critical step and work on one step at a time.
  4. Measure your conversion from one step to the next and work on improving each step by just 10% more than it was.
  5. Work on the letters, brochures, other written or audio/video material you use during each step of the sales process.
  6. Use my magic question for phone selling, “Thanks for your call, just so I can help you best would it be OK if I asked you a couple of questions?”
  7. Run a competition among your sales people for a week or two around the one area you need to see the most improvement in.
  8. Learn the critical buying step in your sale, for example in female fashion stores, it’s trying the clothes on, with it you have more than a 50% chance at making a sale, without it, less than 10%.
  9. Follow up and follow through, too many sales are lost by salespeople who can’t be bothered to follow-up again and again and again … at least 7 times …
  10. Make an offer that is either limited or a bonus offer or something to get customers to act now and to give sales people some ammunition …
  11. Just plain ask people to buy, usually in sales training the one biggest reason sales people are not getting the sale is that they don’t ask for it …
  12. Bonus: Stay focused on your conversion rate for 3 months and watch the dramatic effect it has on your bottom line.

Once you’ve got it right, or at least much better than it is today, then and only then is it time to go to work getting more prospects and investing more money into your marketing and fixing the marketing you are doing now.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 July 23, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Growth Tagged with: , ,  1 Response »
Jul 162012
 

 

sales, marketing, conversion rate, test and measure, guarantee, follow-up, USP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Follow up – It is amazing how such a simple strategy can be so effective. Every quote, introduction, tender you do is just the start of your conversion process. So many businesses spend hundreds of pounds getting a lead, many hours preparing a quote and then, if they don’t hear back, just say “oh well,” and move onto the next lead. This is such a waste of time.

Just think of how many times you have been offered something and then life has got in the way so you did not get around to ordering it. How pleasant would it have been if somebody had reminded you and helped you complete the purchase? Also remember if you do not follow-up, your competition will.

2. Unique Selling Proposition (USP) – Why should somebody buy from you rather than your competition? When times get tough you may find more people in your sector trying to compete on price. Educating your prospects about your uniqueness and how you add value is the only way to ensure you get the business and still make a good margin. If you can communicate with your prospect all the benefits they will get from buying from you, why would they go anywhere else?

3. Guarantee – One of the main reasons people don’t buy is that they have a fear they will be let down at some point in the process. It is your job to identify in what areas these fears may lie and then to guarantee that by buying from you they will not be let down. Just look to the big companies like M&S, Domino Pizza and DHL for great examples of this.

4. Benefits and testimonials – Another great way to alleviate people’s fears of buying from you is to show them what benefits your existing customers have received by buying from you by getting written testimonials from them. These should include real benefits to them, not just “they are great people to buy from.” If your customers do not know what to say then there is no harm in preparing a testimonial for them to sign.

5. Measure it – It has been proven that just by regularly measuring your results, they will improve by up to 5%. This works because by monitoring your results you are setting your subconscious brain to look for ways to improve that factor.

While consciously you are not doing anything, subconsciously you are affecting the result. An easy way to demonstrate this is have a piece of string with a weight on the end and hold it dead still. Then without moving your hand, think about the weight moving in a certain direction. You will be amazed at the result.

Just by working on these strategies you can make an amazing difference to your revenues and it need not cost you a penny.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 July 16, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Growth Tagged with: , ,  8 Responses »
Jul 022012
 

marketing, growing small business, spending time instead of money, low cost marketing, marketing budget

 

 

 

 

 

 

If, as a result of the present economic times, you find yourself cutting back heavily on your marketing budget, it does not mean that you also need to cut back on your marketing activities. Marketing is paramount in these times of economic distress.

How then can you keep your marketing efforts alive despite a dwindling fund?

There are many marketing initiatives available that are free of cost or have a minimal cash outlay with a relatively high return that small businesses can effectively employ to remain competitive.

Here are nine such techniques that can help you survive and thrive through the present tough times.

  1. Networking – Networking with local business groups, local ‘service’ groups such as Round Table, Lions etc, or even at your children’s school or the church, etc. can be a great marketing technique that does not cost a thing. Spend your time instead of your money.
  2. Referral policy – Ask your existing customers to recommend you to a friend and, if necessary, give them some form of reward (high perceived value to them, low-cost to you) for doing this.
  3. Targeted Direct Mail – A carefully written letter sent to a targeted list and then followed up to increase response rate can work wonders for your business.
  4. Improved Signage – Improve your signage to cover the services you offer.
  5. Marketing Collateral – Leaflets promoting all your services sent out with invoices or directly to your customer base is a cost-effective marketing technique.
  6. Email Newsletters – While it can cost a bit to set up a template, email newsletters come with only a small cost to use as long as you have the time to write the content yourself. There is no postage associated and these are free to send.
  7. Free Poster Signs – Post signs on your vehicles – you have a free poster site, why not use it!
  8. Internet/Online Marketing – There are a plethora of free/low-cost options available online, such as blogs, social media, membership communities like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Meetup, Yelp etc. where you can market your products and services. YouTube can be used effectively to demonstrate your product and with the help of social media tools, these videos can reach a newer, wider audience.

It is important to remember that axing your marketing budget does not mean that you also minimize your marketing initiatives. The biggest mistake businesses make during a recession is to cut down on their marketing activities. Using these free, low-cost marketing techniques will help your company stay afloat during these tumultuous times.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 July 2, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Growth Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »