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Outline for Sales and Marketing Effectiveness in 2010

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2010. WOW! The second decade of the 21st Century. It seems like just yesterday that this new Century started.

To celebrate the New Year and new decade I thought it would be appropriate to help my readers ensure they are on track and ready to maximize their sales and marketing effectiveness in 2010.

Please accept this easy to follow plan as my holiday gift to your business growth, ultimate success and complete satisfaction of your life in business.

Marketing

Purpose

The purpose of marketing is to attract people to your offer and into your sales pipeline.

Desired Outcome of your attraction (marketing) program: Keep your sales pipeline full of qualified leads you would actually enjoy working with.

To achieve attraction effectiveness …

… Review your client list. Who do you most enjoy working with? What are the special characteristics of this desirable group of people?

Develop a list of the characteristics that make your favorite clients tick. Then go online and find more people like this special group by searching keywords using tools like http://www.spyfu.com and http://www.alexa.com as starting points. Be sure to use http://technorati.com to find bloggers who are just like your favorite clients.

… Review your sales ‘soft step.’ Is it something your buyers want to take advantage of?

How does it lead to new sales opportunities?

Is it easy for your buyers to take advantage of?

… Review your Web site, marketing materials and proposals.

Is your message focused on solving buyer challenges or is the message focused on your business.

Do these materials say YOU twice as much as I or ME?

If your marketing message is focused on your business make it buyer centric by using the words your buyers use when describing the assistance they are looking for. If you don’t know what those words are do a survey or call your top clients and ask.

Sales

Purpose


To convert the attraction and interest gained in marketing into revenue consistently.

Desired Outcome of your system of selling: Convert attraction gained in marketing into revenue 1 in 3 times (best) to 1 in 5 times (minimum).

To achieve conversion effectiveness …

… Analyze your System of Selling

When you’re selling are you listening twice as much as you’re talking or are you ‘pitching’ hoping to “talk someone into buying”?

Are you asking questions that help buyers really “feel” the challenges they are experiencing?

When closing do you ask your buyers “How do you go about making a decision like this?” Or do you use standard sales closing techniques? (Asking how they make decisions is the best approach).

Do you always ask the buyer to become involved in your offer 100% of the time before leaving?

If they need more time to consider your offer do you always set (100% of the time) a clear and focused next step to check back?

BONUS THAT WILL MAKE YOU MORE MONEY: Does your prospect write that next step time into their appointment calendar as an appointment to keep?

Do you know your sales closing ratio? Do you convert interest into revenue at least 1 in 5 times (1 close for every 5 sales appointments) at minimum for sure? (1 in 3 times is most desirable)

Client Relationship Management (CRM)

Purpose

To continue to serve the people who can use the value you provide. To ensure satisfaction, understand ongoing challenges your clients face and offer to assist your buyers throughout the year.

Desired Outcome of your CRM program: create more sales from people who have already purchased from you. Create more opportunities for referrals and recommendations. The end result is increased revenue with minimal “cost of sales” expense.

To achieve CRM effectiveness focus on …

… Your Client Relationship Management program

Mindset

By definition, a customer is someone who purchases goods and services from another person. A client is someone who is under the guidance and direction of another. Everyone is a client. No one is just a customer in your business.

Follow up

Do you follow up once a sale is completed to ensure satisfaction?

Do you follow up after the first month a sale is completed to ensure ongoing satisfaction?

Do you send information of value to your clients at least once a month?

Do you call your good clients at least quarterly?

Do you watch for opportunities to refer people you meet who may need the assistance of one of your clients?

Do you really care about the results your clients gain, more than the dollars they represent on your profit and loss statements?

If so, how many different ways do you communicate that message to your clients?

Let me totally frank here. Following this process can be a pain in the butt.

It may take time away from other activities, like checking email, surfing the Web, shopping during business hours and taking that long lunch break you so richly deserve.

I can only tell you this because I, like you, get distracted by things all day long.

You have to build self-awareness. You have to “catch” yourself doing non-optimum tasks.

Make awareness building your only resolution for the New Year. “I will be aware of my actions every day and catch myself doing things that do not move me forward in my life and business as they occur.”

Or you can keep getting the same results you have over the past 10 years. The choice is always up to each of us to make.

Now you may be asking yourself …

… What should I do if these ideas REALLY helped me?

Tweet them and share them with your friends, associates and network connections.

… What should I do if I can’t accomplish the things on this list on my own?

Call on me, I’ll help you.

… What if I don’t have the money to get help?

Review past blog posts on the Creative Business Strategy blog. I’ve been helping you gain new ideas to grow your business since 2003 and on this blog since 2005. There’s a lot of help in all of these past posts.

There are changes coming in my life and business that I’d love to share with you. There are ideas on living in greater happiness and fulfillment coming your way, right here too. So please stay tuned.

For now, however, I'd like to wish you a prosperous and very Happy New Year.

Who Do You Love?`

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When you have your own business it’s easy to fall in love with your product or service. After all, your business is your baby. You watched it grow up from infant (start-up) to adult (business that works).

However, you are often disappointed in your businesses ability to produce the revenue you really desire.

The reason is your focus is probably wrong. Instead of loving your business you must actually fall in love with your clients.

But exactly how do you fall in love with your clients?

It starts with understanding.

Call to ask your best clients what the greatest value they receive from your business is.

Keep talking to clients until you hear the same type of values repeated over again. These are your key selling points so take careful notes of what you’re hearing.

Then develop a communication strategy. Once you re-engage your clients with the value statement call, launch a plan of follow up.

Consider:

Sending a thank you card after the call.

Setting a “check-in” time for later in the year with each client you talk to.

Emailing a newsletter that reaches clients monthly at minimum.

Schedule a luncheon where your clients have an opportunity to meet each other.

Mail a “no real reason card” a few times a year. A program like Send Out Cards automates this process quickly and easily.

Now that I got your brain working on this, think of a few unique ways you can stay in touch and show clients you value them and their business.

Your personal touch and authentic caring makes a big difference in showing clients how much you appreciate them.

Spend time every day letting clients know you appreciate them and watch your profits grow from repeat business.


Storytelling for Business Pros

Once Upon a Time Most people have had the experience of trying to make a point to a client or prospect only to have the response be a blank stare.

Those moments happen because you were speaking in a way the listener could not hear or understand you.

As human beings, we best learn from pictures and stories. Words alone tend to fall on deaf ears.

Think of California. Chances are you did not see the State name in your head.

Instead you saw an image of the shape of California on a map or pictured yourself on
a beach, listening to the waves lap onto the shore.

If you were explaining California to someone, you would probably tell a story about an experience you or someone you know had there. Maybe you would show photos.

You would tell the story or show the picture to bring your point to life.

The same holds true for business and sales.

When you want to drive your point home, use the tools and techniques most human beings need to gain understanding. Use pictures and stories to explain your point of view.

How do you get started?

Chances are you already do it. Have you ever said “picture (or imagine) this ...” and then went on to tell a story that created a mental picture in the mind of the listener.

Or, have you ever been to a class or seminar where the speaker used PowerPoint slides to make her point?

Of course, we all have. The reason the slides were used (or misused) is to provide a picture to help you remember the point being made.

The next time you’re on a sales call or creating marketing materials, try this.

Tell stories about client successes instead of giving your standard sales presentation. Take the prospect through the start of your relationship all the way through the success your client had.

I did this to build business for my client Celebrity Hairstylist Johnny G., the person who makes YOU look and feel like a star.

We did a mailing campaign to prospects around his Scottsdale salon when it was brand new.

The mailer was a cool looking flyer in an envelope. The only content on the flyer was testimonials from his happy clients. There was no “sales speak” at all.

We also included a hand written post-it note, inviting people to come in and experience Johnny’s services.

Within 2-weeks of the mailing he gained 7 to 10 new clients (at last count) in addition to referrals from some of those people. Needless to say, he was happy with the results.

All we did was tell stories of his client’s experience.

Put your sales presentation into PowerPoint but don’t use words, use pictures instead. Explain your point visually with pictures and minimal words.

I did this for a client who does in-home sales to consumers directly. We developed a sales presentation that was a flip chart using pictures to drive key client benefits home.

Using this idea resulted in two of three new sales reps closing a deal in their first couple of days; after only 3-days of training.

Prior to this the ramp up time to first sale for new reps had been a month or longer.

The pictures helped the reps remember the presentation and increased prospect comprehension; shortening the sale closing cycle.

Develop your storytelling skills and then put pictures to the words and see how much easier sales and marketing becomes.