by Ken Sethney, Volunteer Mentor, Kitsap SCORE
Let me begin by saying that I have tremendous respect for sales people. They have an extremely difficult and vitally important job. When they are successful, everyone wins —customers, owners, managers, widget makers, support staff, and consultants.
Therefore, it is in everyone’s interest that sales people are given the support, encouragement and tools they need to succeed. To that end, I offer the following strategies for increasing sales productivity. When they are successfully implemented, your customers and everyone in your organization will benefit. Continue reading
As the owner of a small business, you may be struggling with a frustrating reality. You are confident that you have excellent products and services, but people aren’t just lining up to buy them.
You know that you can solve problems for your customers and deliver significant value for a reasonable price. All you have to do is convince them to place an order.
Unfortunately, sales skills don’t come naturally to everyone, but they are essential if you want to build relationships with potential customers and generate orders for your products and services. Continue reading
You have a business, but are people talking about it?
Word-of-mouth is just as relevant today as it has ever been. When a business asks you to talk about how great they are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on, that’sword-of-mouth. When you provide good content that others can share, that is also word of mouth. Today, potential customers are more likely to pay attention to people they know and a large general following (e.g., Yelp) than if they see the same commentary in a company advertisement.
In fact, they’ll pay much more attention. The Word of Mouth Marketing Association published some research a couple years ago that found “the value of a word of mouth impression is from five to 100+ times more valuable than a paid media impression.”
You don’t have to spend all day convincing people to spread the word about your new business on social media.
Keep your customers happy with a personal touch.
You’ve seen people so absorbed with their smartphones that they appear oblivious to everything that’s going on around them. Of course, everyone is entitled to their personal privacy, and perhaps the message or video on their phone really is that important, but spending too much time in a “heads-down” position can be off-putting to others.
Many entrepreneurs, particularly those who work from home, operate their small businesses much the same way when they rely too heavily on email or texting to communicate with clients. Digital communication is convenient, particularly for work-related issues and updates, but numerous studies have come to the same conclusion—customers want to be treated like people.
When you take a technology-centric approach to communication, you’re missing an opportunity to foster a relationship with your customers, a quality that is becoming increasingly critical when deciding who we want to do business with. Continue reading
These are the slides I use to present the marketing section of the Business Plan workshop at Seattle SCORE. Feel free to take a look then reach out to Kitsap SCORE, Seattle SCORE or SCORE.org for help putting your ideas on paper, then putting them to work.
— Ken Sethney
I often work with SCORE clients who want to create a successful marketing strategy so they can find customers for their products and services. During our conversation, I introduce the Bullet Point Marketing Plan and share a copy of the six-question worksheet.
After they identify their “Class A Prospects” and think about where they might be “hiding,” I ask how they intend to reach them. This can be a bit of a struggle, so I tell a story about some friends who delivered hand-addressed 9×12 inch envelopes to the offices where their Class A prospects were “hiding” and well protected by “gatekeepers.” The envelopes contained a business card, a personally addressed and hand-signed letter, plus a reel-to-reel audio tape containing samples of their work.
This was in the 1970s. They were selling their services as writers, arrangers and recording engineers for radio commercials in Los Angeles. Their target audience consisted of creative directors for advertising agencies who had never heard of these Seattle guys who had just moved to L.A. The “lumpy envelopes” were opened and my friends got lots of calls. The calls turned into lots of business for their new production studio. Continue reading