Tag Archives: Business

Want To Sell More? Look To Product Development First

Sales is not about convincing people who do not want your service to buy it. Sales is about finding the people who do want your service and letting them buy it.

Odd that this premise is so overlooked in business. I’ve worked with 100’s of small and medium business owners or senior managers who really didn’t get this. And it can be a fatal flaw to a company.

Sales

There is a complete misunderstanding of what a salesperson/group/ division is capable of. I’ve worked with owners of multimillion dollar companies, who really think the simple act of hiring a professional sales person means that sales person should now be able to convert most (or at least a decent amount) of prospects by using the magic they have learned throughout their career, no matter how good a fit the service or product is, no matter the position of the product in the marketplace, no matter the branding of the product. In the mind of the less informed, a sales rep can sell anything.

Add to that the natural and common tendency for owners to have a higher regard for their offering than the market itself, as well as the common optimistic early sales projections and outlook communicated by the new sales force, and you have a disaster waiting to happen.

I should note that I have worked with sales people who can sell anything, but they are very rare, and they generally produce much lower customer loyalty. Perhaps these are the salespeople owners are thinking of when their expectations are that a “sales person” can sell anything.

The solution is a well thought out sales and marketing assessment before you go and buy the farm. And this is tricky, because the reality is marketing is primarily responsible for identifying the target market (People who will like your service) finding out how to reach them , and then attracting them to your sales group or funnel.

Yet most companies I have worked with don’t have a budget or an understanding of how these two key disciplines must work together to achieve success. So they put all their dollars in one or the other, or severely under budget one.

So if you buy into this premise, the fundamental success of sales for you company starts with product development. A good sales rep can’t sell a product that is hard to use, or poorly designed. A good sales rep can sell a product that is easy to use, and has a clear advantage for their target market.

So working relentlessly on improving what you sell, will do more for driving sales than anything else you can do.

After that, you must have a marketing machine to get the service in view of the right buyers. Once that is accomplished, sales comes into play. Sales is the last piece of the sales process, following product development and improvement and then marketing.

So if you’re struggling with sales, perhaps where you should be looking for answers is in your product or service offering, or are you asking your salesperson to be both your marketing department and sales department.

By: Mike Bayes

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You don’t need to learn to sell. You need to learn how to generate prospects.

You don’t need to learn to sell. You need to learn how to generate prospects.The truth is, in 99% of the sales challenges  I have been involved with, the problem isn’t in the person’s ability to “sell” its in the fact that they have no one to sell too.

Mike closing2First, selling isn’t different than any other skill set, it must be learned.  When we hear someone say someone was a “born” salesperson, it’s really not true. That’s like saying Peyton Manning was a born a quarterback, and discounts the years of very hard work and dedication he (or anyone very good at what they do) has put into their profession.

In my experience the absolute most important part of selling is having a plan of how you are going to generate prospects. Small business owners who state, I don’t know how, or I am bad at sales, are thinking about the actual process of presenting and closing a new customer in many cases, when what they are really talking about their ability to generate leads and prospects. The truth is, in 99% of the cases I have been involved with, the problem isn’t in the person’s ability to “sell” its in the fact that they have no one to sell too.

The simple and fairly quick process of having a plan, and working the plan will solve this.

So here are some simple steps for the business owner who doesn’t know how to generate prospects. It’s not original, and you will find this advice by reading any of the great sales or marketing guru’s.

1.) Identify who is most likely to buy your service.

2.) Build or buy a list of these businesses

3.) Develop a compelling reason for them to contact you, or speak with you.

4.) Write a letter (can be email). In the letter describe a problem you solved for some business like theirs. Drop names of happy clients. Offer something in the PS  (It’s worth paying a few hundred dollars to a professional direct mail copywriter) Mail the letters.

5.A) wait for them to call you

5B)  Call them and asked if they read your letter.  What did they think?

6.) Repeat with new letter.

7.) Repeat with new letter

(I will be writing or asking an expert to write a blog on each step mentioned above with instructions and details on each.) Subscribe to be notified. (I mean it, subscribe NOW)

You may be asking… that’s it?  Yup that’s it.

Your success will depend on:The value of your service to the target market. Make it (your service) as good as possible before you start all this. The quality of the list, and where you got it. If it’s opt in, great. If you buy it, you need to send a bunch of letters. The quality of the letter or email you send.  The offer you make them and your follow up.

In my experience you will have something like three times the success if you are brave enough to call the list. I’ve seen success rates as high as 50% on this program.  Overall we average a 14% response or generated prospect rate on these programs.  Think about that.

You send 1000 letters.  You get 140 prospects. You sell 35%. You have 49 new customers.  The cost?…. depends on how you implement it, but figure a $1.00 per letter with printing and stamps and maybe a copywriter.

As far as the actual “sales” process with these prospects, remember that the word sales means to persuade. If they called you, you’re 80% there.  Now relax and ask then the questions you have developed on your sales questionnaire. Oh… that’s on another blog here…

And then, ask them when they would like to start.

Congratulations, you are now better than at least 60% of the salespeople I have met who do no targeting, little or no qualifying and never close.

Don’t know how to sell?  Who cares, because now you know how to generate prospects.


 

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Business Is Relationships. Build Your Referrals.

Business is relationships…

Yet we don’t really focus on the current health and value of our relationships with business contacts. As small businesses we track and analyze piles of information, and ignore our greatest assets, relationships.

Here’s a system (or part of a system) we have used for several years that can drive your sales, and build your relationships.  I think its self explanatory.  Just list every business contact you can think of… even people you haven’t communicated with for years, in each category.  The spreadsheet gives you a blended score which in theory predicts which of your contacts has the most “referral” potential.

Relationship Charting Expanded

Then do something for each one.  Even if you can’t think of anything to offer, you can call or email them, and say, I was just thinking about you and wanted to see what you are doing these days.  You can offer to do an introduction to someone, or invite then to lunch. Have a great tip on sales or marketing, or something that is working for you that you can share?  Any thing that is of value.

Relationships, like anything else, need maintenance and nurturing. This simple spreadsheet can go a long way in helping you grow your most important marketing and sales resource… the relationships you have built.I would love it if you would try this for a week or two to see what results come from it.  I can tell you, it’s been my number one source of leads and sales for two years.

If you are an Internet Marketer you can use it to build great on-line contacts. In many ways, its much faster because you can use Social Media as the nice thing to do for someone. Post their blog on your G+, Facebook, Linked in… that’s a gift.  Even good blog comments are gifts.

Click here to view the Google Docs Sheet Relationship Chart

Let me know how this works! This is a part of our Sales Coaching Program.  Need help building your sales and revenue?  Contact me for a free consultation.

By Mike Bayes

303 500 3053 ext 1

mike@myonecall.com

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Increase Business Sales through Giving More Referrals

How To Increase Your Business Sales By Giving more Referrals.

What you are about to read will significantly increase your company’s sales. I am writing it because referrals represent the largest bucket of new sales acquisition for many small and medium businesses, and are the most difficult thing to increase in volume. We all love them, and can’t seem to generate enough of them.  First a short background on why we think referral programs are both important and generally are complete implemented in the wrong way.

English: Kansas Lottery Yearly Sales Graph.

 

One of our services to clients besides Internet Marketing and Search Engine Optimization is a

Sales Crystal Ball program. It falls in the category of sales acceleration. In its basic form, the final product will tell a business where its next 12 months of customers will come from, and how to sell them in half the time.

English: A Crystal Ball I created in 3D. Suppo...

To accomplish this we look at a large data set of former customers. With in that data we find the largest commonality matches. Those of course turn into a target market. A message based on the findings ofwhy former customers purchased, is developed and then delivered to the new target market.

As an example, we recently finished a Crystal Ball program for a client that clearly identified that 90% of what they had described as their best customers were all part of one organization. The vast majority of their best customers

had 6 or more employees and the vast majority of those had been in business 10 years or more. The new target market was very defined and easy to identify.

Here is where finding new clients becomes a challenge, as most of the clients customers in the above crystal ball assessment came from referrals, and this is the case with most of the businesses we work with. When assessing where new clients find them, the number one (by far) way is almost always through a referral.  This is really a good sign as it demonstrates the company does great work. The problem is if you want to build new sales at an accelerated rate you can not just wait for someone to refer you, and most referral systems you can build have a limited success rate, although certainly worth the effort to develop.

 

Here is why a referral program doesn’t build sales quickly. Its premise is an anti altruistic tit for tat system.In other words you ask for something before you give.

A tit for tat system is simple. I give you something that is valuable, and you feel the need to return the kindness.

In a referral system, you are saying, give me something and I will be thankful, or I will give you a reward. In human nature, that’s a turn off (There are a few exceptions to this rule of course).

To have a truly successful referral program, you must reverse the tit for tat process. You must start the system by giving the customer a gift or help of some sort that has real and unique value.  Value has a tendency to be returned in equal or higher quantities.  This value you give needs to be a surprise, not baked into a system.

A personal example of the power of a tit for tat system is when your neighbors drop off some home baked cookies before the holidays. They just show up and hand you a gift with a smile. Soon you may find yourself baking a batch for them, or returning the kindness in some other way, but chances are it will be cookies or food. This point is very important.  Tit for tat values are generally the same stuff given back and forth.

A business example: B2B

If you want other business to promote your service, you must first, promote their business. If you really want a business to refer you, you need to refer them first!

So it all comes down to this when we discuss referral programs.  Instead of building a “we will give you something for a referral”, you need to build an internal process and culture that says, we will give our customers referrals. Then you need to actively find those opportunities. If your sales person(s) can find an honest way to refer one prospect to your better clients a week, you will be pleasantly surprised at the effect it will have on your sales. Even better is to find a way to constantly promote your best clients, so there is an ongoing process of giving.

How to start:

  • Make a list of all of your better clients.
  • Next to the company note the services or products they sell.
  • Next to that, add a note of  the clients or associates who might need or purchase their services in the future.
  • Now make a list of introductions you can make.

You see where this goes. You can send an email to both parties as an e introduction.  You can call them and introduce the other party. You can set up a lunch for them to meet each other.  You can hold a quarterly networking meeting for all the clients.

Another system is to develop an ongoing promotional program on your site, or in your newsletter, that allows you to promote your best clients.  Call them and ask if they would like to be listed or promoted through those opportunities.  If you are really into this, you can even add some ad words PPC to drive some traffic to the resource page on your site, using the clients keywords.

There are as many ways to provide referrals to your clients as there are ways to promote a business. Be creative and give first, and do not make this process public or part of a sales presentation.

Mike

303 500 3054 ext 1

My One Call LLC


 

SEOmoz talks about this in a how to get links article here http://www.seomoz.org/blog/my-favorite-way-to-get-links-and-social-shares-whiteboard-friday

 

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Tips on Selling More For SEO And Small Business.

This collection of tips came through 20+ years of managing sales teams while developing more than $220 million in sales revenue.

I’ve been lucky in my life having worked around some of the more successful and talented sales professionals in the country. During the 1990s my sales force of 650 sold more than $80 million a year in recurring revenue for Telecom services. Since 2003, my company has averaged a 17-to-1 return on investment for every dollar our clients have spent with us.  Based on these successes, here are some tips for business owners about sales, salespeople, and just plain selling:

1. Dogs have to like the dog food

Here’s an old sales story: A national sales manager is at a meeting with his sales managers from across the country. They have recently launched a new brand of dog food A supermarket's pet food aisle in Brooklyn, Ne...and the sales numbers are terrible. He is ranting and raving about how much marketing has been done, the dollars they’re spending, and no one is selling the new dog food. He asks the group what’s going on! And a small voice in the back of a very quiet room speaks up, “I don’t think dogs like the way it tastes.”

For success, start with your product. Make it taste really good. Too many business owners refuse to accept that a sales problem may, in fact, be a bad product or service. Honestly evaluate your products and services as well as your competition. Make yours better, faster, more affordable. Then go sell it!

Your sales staff will be more productive and your customers will be more loyal. See the end of this blog for some tips directly related to SEO services.

2. Most salespeople are like plumbers

Plumbers make more than many other trades. You know why? Plumber's buttBecause they do the stuff other people don’t want to do. In my experience, 75 percent of salespeople are in sales not because they are trained and passionate sales professionals, but because they will do the stuff other people don’t want to do: they will pick up the phone and make cold calls. You don’t have to be good at sales to make cold calls any more than you have to be good at plumbing to clean out a septic tank. Just make sure that when it comes to your salespeople, you hire the professionals that are passionate about their work; otherwise, you may as well hire a plumber.

3. Great salespeople work for high compensation

The average outside sales rep in Colorado earns around $58,000 a year before benefits. If you’re going to pay an average wage, expect average performance, which in sales means you should hire a plumber. If you want top performance, offer top pay.

4. You can’t hire commission only salespeople to sell your product

Commission only sales representatives must have the opportunity to make $1,500 a week, every week within their first month with your company. And they need to be paid quickly. Can your product support this? No. Stop thinking about hiring cheap sales help, and start thinking about how to make your product irresistible to buyers. Once you have an irresistible product you may be able to hire a commission only sales force because plumbers will be able to give it away.

5. The number one factor in achieving your sales goals is …

… a really great product or service.  Period.

6. Most good salespeople are egotists

This is true. If you do not know how to manage egotistical personalities, don’t.  Hire an experienced sales manager or a therapist to manage them. Some of the best salespeople I have ever worked with were pains to be around. They whined, they were always late, they didn’t come to mandatory training, and they didn’t play nicely with others. What they did was sell. All they needed was a cheer leader, not a manager.What’s on the score board?

Most sales managers only know how to manage plumbers because that’s what most salespeople are. Plumbers show up for meetings, fill out the reports, and struggle to make minimum sales; but they always have their shovel with them. The problem is you may be tempted to hire plumbers, because they’re easier to manage and will fit in with your company culture better.  So if you are going to hire and manage plumbers, make sure you have a product that is irresistible to buyers.

I think I’ve made my point. Most sales programs are usually handed off to plumbers to sell. Your only chance for great sales success is to spend a great deal of time making your product or service irresistible to buyers. Trust me, in most cases, this is far more effective and a better return on investment than actually building a professional sales force with top notch management. Why? Because if your product is really good, you’ll attract the best sales professionals anyway.

This leads to my final point for today:

7. Great salespeople aren’t hired, they choose the company they want to work for

Given this, your job as a business owner is to build a service or product that is irresistible. Once you have that, your salespeople will become superstars (and you can throw the shovels away).

And, as promised for the SEO’s of the world.  How can you build an irresistible service?  Step One: Ask your clients what they feared most when signing up for your service. Then develop a 100% iron clad guarantee that what they listed , will not happen.

Steps 2-5 available by request.

 

Click to talk with Mike right now, or leave a message about this post.

Mike Bayes is President of My One Call LLC a business development firm based in Lafayette Colorado. http://www.salesjumpstart.net
303 500 3053 Ext 1

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How to Sell SEO Services

How to sell Search Engine Optimization Services.

Mike

Our company provides several sales acceleration services, one of which is business development, as in selling more. So I thought I would give the SEO and Internet Marketing firms that are struggling a little with sales, a few thoughts on what has worked for us, and what works in sales in every thing.

Our company, My One Call, LLC gets about 95% of new clients through referrals from happy clients, and other business influencers in Colorado. In the distant past we did some pay per click and other marketing.  For any of you who have been down that path, you know the challenges associated with selling to an advertising generated lead, those being, they are shopping (that’s how they found you right?)  so you will be competing against mainly price, and they don’t know you or trust you. A well known marketing guru once wrote; “if you think about it, advertising is really an admission of failure”  Or some thing like that. I think the point is if you provide spectacular service you shouldn’t need to advertise, that your happy customers will send you lot’s of business and to an extent that’s true, but you need to remind them that you need that from them.

In sales there are four steps with a prospect.

  1. They don’t know you
  2. They know you
  3. They trust you
  4. They buy from you or refer you to others who will.

Trust is the point you need to get to with all prospects. The best way to get a prospect to the trust category is get a 3rd party endorsement of your service. If someone they trust tells them that you are the cat’s meow, the big dog, and the best ever, you are in great shape.

So selling more means getting more endorsements. I am not talking about a written testimonial for your site (although that’s great!) but the reality is most prospects need more than that.

  • We send out a monthly email to our current and past clients. It has very specific copy written to encourage them to tell other companies about us. Frankly, we bug them all the time for referrals.
  • We also refer business to them at every opportunity.
  • We also try to provide out of the box free services, as an example we hold quarterly networking meetings with business owners to discuss how they can help each other in business.
  • If we hear about or see  something working well in advertising or promotion we investigate it, and pass on the information to our clients who might benefit.
  • We provide a free research service for clients who are approached with new advertising opportunities. We call the references, speak with the sales peoples, and give them an honest opinion if we would do it or not.
  • And we bug them for referrals in very systematic and persistent ways.
  • We play golf with Clients.
  • We try to find new ways to be valuable every day. Not new ways to make money.

 

The final point for now is you should target influential businesses.  If you spend all your time working with start ups, your span of influence is limited. If you work with businesses who are part of the community, and well respected, your referrals will go through the roof.

I know that many web design firms and Internet Marketing companies are very good at what they do, but selling doesn’t fall into their skill sets. It’s frustrating to see other companies that may provide less service and a lower quality product sell more month after month.

We have a great marketing and business development program for these type companies. Affordable and strategic, they return over $20.00 for every $1.00 invested.  They are the Business Development program, and our sales coaching programs.  If you need to grow your company, and are outside of the Denver Metro area (Hey, you guys don’t need the help) call me for a free sales and marketing assessment. I guarantee you will get at least one new idea that will build your sales fast.  303 500 3053 ext 1  <<<  That’s me… Mike Bayes

www.salesjumpstart.net

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How to Win Business Awards, and SEO

How to Win Business Awards, and SEO

One of the more powerful SEO tools for a business is winning business awards.  The problem is the vast majority of businesses don’t understand the process of submitting their business for consideration to the hundreds, if not thousands of organizations that issue awards.

Traditionally a business would use a P.R. firm to identify and submit their firm for business awards. The truth is very few small companies can afford a P.R. form, and when they can, they will generally run out of patience long before any results are obtained.

 

One of our clients, M and E painting,  is owned by an up and coming entrepreneur, Matt Shoup.  Matt owns several companies, and has worked diligently over the last few years understanding P.R. and specifically how a business can win awards. The result of this is his Book, How To Become An Award Winning Company.  You can read about it on his site here  www.becomeanawardwinningcompany.com

The value of winning or being noted in a business award category is obvious.  It builds credibility and trust with potential prospects, it helps create a powerful company culture with your employees, and it can create great links and citations for your site.

In this era of SEO, a great SEO knows that we need to think outside the old, Link, Link, Link, thinking and move more into a early to bed early to raise, Promote, Promote, Promote.  When your client receives an award from a trusted local or national organization,  you will see good things happen to their sites rankings.

Take a look at Matts’  book. It will be released in December of 2011, and has already received excellent reviews

 

 

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Social Media Denver

I asked Lisa Michaud, President of a Denver based Social Media company to write a blog for us on what small and medium business owners should know and do in Social Media. It’s a great post for all business owners interested in utilizing social media to grow their relationships and business.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Set It and Forget it? Not true in Social Media Marketing

So often when I am working with clients on their social media efforts, they comment “Well, I haven’t really looked at it lately.” I am always a bit amazed. While social media can drain time from your business if not done strategically, not looking at your social channels can also leave money on the table. One of the most important strategic exercises you can engage with daily is commenting on your channels and other people’s postings.

Just as a refresher, social media is not just about pipeline development. The overall goal for social marketing is to build relationships with your customers, clients, prospects, partners and vendors in order to:

  1. Increase revenue through direct communication to target audience
  2. Increase profit through deeper relationships with current clients = client retention and brand ambassadors
  3. Increased Brand recognition – Viral marketing effect
  4. Brand monitoring – understand what your market place is saying about you and/or your industry
  5. Marketing research – ask questions to understand your market place needs
  6. Pipeline development – create new clients through viral marketing & brand ambassadors.
  7. Ensure that you remain relevant and live within your industry
  8. Asset to company – ready to sell or find investors? Built in marketplace
  9. Generate site traffic – keywording, SEO links are incorporated into some social sites (LI, TW, FB)

Keep the pulse on the conversations daily or at least weekly to show your audience that you care about your network. If you don’t look at it, neither will your audience.

Lisa Michaud

President

The Startup Launcher

Social Media Systems Designed to Empower Your Voice

www.thestartuplauncher.com

 

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Social Media Company in Denver

Infographic on how Social Media are being used...
Image via Wikipedia

Social Media, Sales and SEO Go Together.

My One Call in partnership with www.metasocialweb.com is now making your Social Media easy.
It’s all about getting new customers! Let our staff do your social media, for only $ 199.00 a month*.  Add SEO at an incredible price of $279.00* a month for both.

We run your twitter campaigns

With our partner www.Meta Social Web.com we make Twitter easy and your company will be promoted by a large community of local businesses.

Multiply weekly tweets and interactions.  Good for promoting and good for your web site ranking too! It’s your account, so jump in as much or as little as you like.  No fake followers, just real local businesses and people who want to support your business.

 

We run your Face Book campaigns
We Post interesting information about your company and your community.  Growing your Face Book like’s will increase your branding and help with your web site rankings. And with our service your new likes will come from the local area, and be actual prospects for your service. We take care of the basics, so you can take care of your business, and participate as much you like. 

Search Engine Optimization to get More traffic (prospects) to your web Site.

We have been successfully getting client sites ranked highly in local searched for 5 years.  Adding our back linking services to your program can have great results and bring more prospects to your site. Today, SEO, Social Media, and Sales all work together. That’s why Internet Marketing is exploding.

Adding links every month from high quality sites is the key to increasing your rankings! We are researching and finding new sites every week where we can add your company information to increase traffic to your site. Adding your company to www.MetaSocialWeb.com will also give you valuable links and opportunities to promote your business with Twitter, Face book, Google Plus  and all the major players

Call us today at 303 500 3053 ext 1 to get more information, or contact us here

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Find more prospects, close more sales

The conversion percentage of a prospect to a customer is a cornerstone of a successful company. It influences everything in the company including gross revenue, gross margin, net profit, expenses, budget’s, hiring plans, expansion, and virtually every function of a business. Every sales organization should be constantly looking for ways to improve their closing percentage.

But first, a company must get their product or service in front of new potential customers at a cost that is sustainable and still allows profit.  Generating leads is easy; generating profitable leads cab be very challenging.

The cost of generating new prospects is higher in the early stages of a businesses existence.  Without a solid customer base to lean on, the vast majority of new sales will be “purchased” through advertising or promotions. If you are an established company with a solid customer base it’s important to leverage your hard earned reputation in the sales process.

As a sales consultant I have developed a list of areas that will improve both lead generation and closing percentage for virtually any business. These areas work on line or off, and are time tested and proven.

Closing more: Eliminate fear

  • Have a Guarantee
  • Have a  unique offer
  • Have a sales questionnaire
  • Develop Trust through associations and testimonials
  • Have a defined buying Process

Lead generation:

  • Establish your budget with a percentage of gross for advertising
  • Develop a on the spot referral program
  • Use professionals for advertising information. It will save you a ton
  • Use our Crystal Ball to speed up sales for the year. knowing who and where your future customers are will grow your sales quickly

I want to focus on one small change that can improve your closing percentage significantly, and is very simple.

Use your contract or agreement as the sales piece. The most difficult moment in a sales presentation for many sales professionals is the transition from the “presentation” to the close.  Moving the contract or agreement into the physical space between the two parties is always awkward, and you can feel the tension escalate.

Why not just develop a sales piece that is the agreement or contract?  Using a little marketing savvy, and some imagination, you can turn your current paperwork into a decent sales presentation.  By doing so your prospects will be far more relaxed, and it leads to a natural conclusion of signing the paperwork.

In my experience you will see an easy 10% increase in your sales peoples closing percentage. Going from 27% to 37% will have a substantial impact on your revenues and success as a business.

You can read more about our sales consulting on our site

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