Tag Archives: sales

Telling Is Not Selling

Tellings-not-sellingWhy is your marketing and sales material not working as well as it should?

Possibly because you don’t have a strong enough point. One of the key links between marketing and selling is getting a point across AND getting a client (or potential client) to act on it.

There’s a saying “Telling is not selling”, it’s not enough to put some information out there and expect people to act on it.

It doesn’t matter what format or platform we are talking about, it could be a web page, a flyer or even a sales call on the phone. Before you embark on “putting it out there” you need to ask yourself; “What do I want the person reading/hearing this message to DO after they’ve got it?”

If you are not totally clear on the precise and single call to action that you want to achieve then the potential client definitely won’t be clear on it either.

People are busy, people have distractions, people are not stupid but they sure can act that way when they have a million other things to think about. Make your message and call to action as simple as possible and spell out what you want them to do and how in the easiest way possible.

The other problem with a distracted audience is if they don’t act immediatly they will forget about you and your message. So how do you get them to act now?

Things to consider:

  • Sell the benefits. If it’s a new bright LED bulb that last 10 years longer than the others, don’t tell them about the technology behind it or where it came from or who invented it and why, nobody gives a crap. Tell them it will save them money, it’s 2x brighter than the next best LED bulb, it last 10 years longer so you don’t have to change it and it’s more economical. Those are the benefits to the potential customer. If it will help them lose weight or save money; How much money? How much weight? In what timeframe? These are the precise benefits that will get someone’s attention.
  • Limit the offer. Make it available to a limited number of people or for a short time frame e.g. 2 days (2 weeks would be too long, they’d think they have time to act later and then forget). Have a special price offer for a limited time or the first 10 people to purchase.
  • Make the last line of your message your call to action. Don’t distract them with anything else after that. If you were on a sales call on the phone you’d ideally want to take a payment for purchase over the phone that’s your ultimate last call to action.

If you’d like to know more I offer a free half hour consultation on the phone or Skype. It costs nothing and there’s no obligation, just a minute of your time to fill out your information below.

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Are You Marketing But Not Selling?

marketing (2)In any company or business there is a major difference between marketing and selling that emphasizes all the differences: marketing departments get given a budget by the business to spend and the sales department get a target amount of money they need to make for the business.

I have seen the arguments between sales and marketing departments that go something like this: marketing dept – “We spent x thousands on Adwords, SEO and social media marketing this month and you didn’t convert enough sales, the sales department aren’t doing their job, it’s not our fault!” Sales dept – “Most of the leads were useless and you need to get us more quality leads to sell to, it’s not our fault!”

In a small business you as the business owner might wear both the sales hat and the marketing hat but are you doing both? Or are the people you employ doing both effectively?

Anyone with an amount of money can go right now and pay for instant online advertising to get clicks from Google, Likes on Facebook, followers on Twitter and any number of other offline advertising to generate interest. But does that translate into sales on it’s own? Almost never. Marketing people won’t like me for saying this but marketing is easy for most business owners; they know their “product”, they know their target audience and if they have a budget they can pay to advertise to those people. Selling and generating income is not so easy.

The major sympathy I have for marketing people is that when they execute an effective campaign but the business owner doesn’t know how to sell or hasn’t instructed the right people to sell, then the marketer will get the wrap when they actually did a good job. Equally a business owner trying to do both jobs might wonder why the money and time he invested in marketing didn’t pay off when it was his selling that let the whole thing down.

So you’ve thrown a bit of money at advertising and marketing how do you close those sales down and generate some income? Here are my top tips for selling to your leads:

  1. Make sure your marketing messages have a call to action that will lead to a sale (not just any call to action); contact form so you can call them and close a sale, buy now button, request a visit or sales call, toll free phone number to call, offer something free that will give an opportunity to speak to the potential client or email them, give special limited time offers if they buy now.
  2. Don’t try and automate everything. People still like to buy from people, get a conversation going either by email or phone. Increase your prices to make it worth you while if you have to but it’s more likely to work even with a higher price if you close a sale face to face or on the phone.
  3. Make it easy to buy. Use services that give plenty of options for payment (credit cards, bank transfer etc) and varied price levels. If they come in at a lower price service/product you can up sell later.
  4. Consider how much money you need to make every month, times that by 12 to give your annual target, divide that by 52 to give a weekly target and divide that by 5 (if you run a Mon – Fri business) to give you a daily sales target. Stick to it and work on achieving your target daily. Noticing you missed your sales target at the end of the month is too late to do anything about it.

Would you like more help and advice on this but specific to your business? I offer business coaching and mentoring from only £35 GBP or $59 USD. This is an incredibly low price compared to others and the value offered but the truth is I don’t need to do it and just enjoy helping others in business, I just charge a small fee to weed out the time wasters. If you are interested, get in touch, I’d be happy to help you increase your business income:

Great Product vs Great Marketing

picsmcSo you have the best product or service at a great price, the few customers you have just love your business and what you do but you can’t understand why it’s so hard to get new clients when your competitors with inferior products and services with higher prices are getting new clients and making more money than you? What’s the answer? Marketing!

I get asked all the time why a business is under performing compared to the competition and it’s almost always the same answer; the competition is spending more on more effective marketing. This is often backed up with a more effective sales strategy that is closing more deals because they know that “telling is not selling”.

I am sorry if this sounds rude but the general public are lazy, they want easy, convenient, simple, uncomplicated and often whatever is in front of them now because that’s the easiest option. Even more discerning clients will often opt for what they know because further research is too time consuming and they need something fulfilled now.

If you are not easy to find or (put basically) in their face, you will struggle to get sales and new clients.

What are your successful competitors doing that you are not? Firstly they are probably delegating their marketing to an expert. Every business owner knows that you can end up wearing all the hats in a business; the bookkeeper, the sales person, web designer, marketing manager etc. This is OK but only up to a certain point, it is very difficult to be a master at all of these things and despite what you might think, you may just not ever be cut out to be great at some of these things. Stick to what you are good at and delegate the rest where possible.

I know many very profitable businesses that make awful products, with terrible customer service and bad websites, yet they still get new customers and plenty of repeat business because their marketing and sales are the largest and most important sections of their business. But I don’t know many successful businesses that have an amazing product but limited marketing and sales capacity. Many businesses have been built on sales and marketing strategies alone, very few businesses with only a great product but no sales or marketing survive for very long.

I am not saying that is how it should be and it’s quite sad, but that is just the way it is. Your potential clients’ human nature dictates that.

What marketing should you be doing? This depends on your business and who you are selling to. All marketing is a punt in the beginning but you can make some educated choices. This is where many go wrong. For example it’s easy to phone a local newspaper and pay a large amount of money for an ad or start a pay-per-click Adwords campaign and spend hundreds in a week or two, get no new clients and give it up as a bad idea. Who designed your ad? You? Did you write it based on how it works rather than the benefits? Did you offer something free or cheap and then got surprised the people you attracted didn’t want to spend money? Did you target a demographic that don’t read newspapers or click on Google ads? This is why it’s often best to spend more on the sales and marketing people than on the ads themselves.

Let me give you a personal example from my own experience. When I launched my first book back in 2011 I had no idea how to promote myself or a book. The businesses I had been involved with required business to business sales which I was good at, but I had limited experience at that time of promoting myself and a book. In the first month of that book release it sold about 30 copies. How much did I spend on advertising and marketing in that month; about $1500. So my return on investment was zero, in fact about minus $1350. It has done very well since then but the first month was very poor because I wasn’t experienced enough in the areas of marketing and PR for selling books at that time. After working with (and paying for) advice and training from some of the top people in book PR and social media marketing my next book sold 600 copies in the first week and was a bestseller in 3 categories on Amazon. what was the cost of using specialists and the marketing budget for the new book; about $750 (half of the previous budget for first book launch). ROI? Hard to calculate because there were discounts and promotions but also because the book sales generated consultancy work that I would have to calculate that in too. Put it this way; I made more than my investment back in the first week and it has continued making me money since.

Regardless of the exact figures, it’s plain and simple to see the difference between the two book launches and the returns.

There has been a seismic shift in marketing in the last few years away from old print advertising and old online ads to new media and new online marketing techniques and it has taken me 3 years working with some of the top people in the business to learn what works so don’t be surprised you or “experts” that haven’t kept up are struggling. It’s not an easy thing to get right.

If you would like some help with marketing your business or just to share your experiences I would really like to hear from you. Get in touch via the form below and I will email you back.

People Buy From People

handshakeThere is an illusion out there that makes some people believe that you can create an automated income stream online and walk away and make money while you lay on a beach somewhere. While some people have done that to a certain extent what you don’t see is the amount of work that goes in to making a business work. Often that work involves selling and even in an online world; people still buy from people.

Let’s pick an example: Mark Zuckerberg the founder of Facebook. He spent years working long hours and networking with the right people to make his ideas into the business he wanted. As far as I know he still works quite hard and he isn’t sunning himself in Fiji every day.

I wanted to make this point because I have been working with some business owners lately who are adamant they want to automate everything and they want as little human contact with potential customers and existing clients as possible (or no contact at all). What they don’t understand is that the internet has made us more connected, not less. Because of that increased connectivity the expectation for contact and quick responses is greater than ever.

I have been banging on for ages about the value of Twitter for marketing, it’s the number one tool out there at the moment for building interested and targeted leads for any business. However they will stay just leads and not convert into sales if you don’t engage with them, keep them interested, answer questions and give them the information they need to make an informed purchase.

Generating sales (and therefore income) for any business is obviously critical for any venture to survive in the long term. There’s also a common belief that any new business is lucky to make a profit in the first year or two and many believe it’s next to impossible. Well it is impossible if you start out with that attitude. In my experience, if you have a good product or service to offer, at the right price and you are willing to adapt early to cater to what the client wants AND you are willing to proactively SELL then there is absolutely no reason why you can’t make money in the first few months.

By proactively selling I mean; personally email or message your contacts on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Make contact on a 1 to 1 level, don’t just mass email or post up a link and status on social networking sites. People can easily miss those links or they’re too lazy to click and read or maybe they will misunderstand a short message. But if you take the time to get in touch with them and explain your offering it’s surprising how quickly you can generate sales. Even in the offline world it’s amazing how quickly sales can be generated at networking groups or even just talking to people at coffee shops, bars or even random places like other parents at your kids school.

It’s the difference between opening a restaurant and sitting inside waiting for people to come in or going out on the street with a smile and giving small samples of food and encouraging people to come in. It has an instant impact.

Creating income in business as an entrepreneur still requires effort and that effort is usually best directed towards selling your ideas to investors, selling yourself to new contacts and selling products to new clients.

If you would like some help with marketing your business or just to share your experiences I would really like to hear from you. Get in touch via the form below and I will email you back.

Understanding The Sales Pipeline

Sales PipelineWhen many people start their first business or any new venture they can get frustrated and even give up too early because they don’t understand the length of time it takes to build a sales pipeline.

Just because sales can’t be generated straight away doesn’t mean that your idea isn’t a viable business. Building trust and engaging with potential customers to create sales can take time.

This lead generation and relationship building is your sales pipeline and it could be  anything from a few minutes up to a year. The key to successful sales and cash flow is to understand the sales process and shorten the pipeline to speed up sales where possible.

For some products and services it’s inevitable that it will take a while to close a deal, especially for complicated and expensive offerings; the customer needs time to digest and share the information and to allocate funds. However there are things you can do to get sales quicker, here are a few you can try:

  • Have you made sure the customer has all the information they need? Don’t wait for them to come back with questions, talk to them and check they have all of their questions answered and they know what the next step is to place an order.
  • Are you giving the customer too much time to think and let another provider step in and close the deal with them instead? If the potential client is ready to buy, MAKE SURE YOU CLOSE THE DEAL. Get payment and provide the product or service.
  • Have you made it as easy as possible to purchase? Do you take credit and debit cards? Can customers make a purchase through your website or via PayPal? Even for large amounts it’s good to make it as easy as possible. Don’t give your potential client excuses to stall or let a competitor with an easier sales process steel your customer.
  • If the sale is big enough and worthwhile you could make a personal visit to the client and get a deal face to face. People like to buy from people and there’s nothing better than eye contact and hand shakes to get a deal signed.
  • Even if you have a short pipeline for small products you sell online and you have minimal contact with the client; Are you dropping potential customers at certain points? Have you kept the number of clicks on your site to a minimum so it’s super simple for potential clients to buy what they want? Is every possible question answered in an easy to find place?

Something else you should consider is to create new products and services with shorter sales pipelines to run alongside your existing ones. Maybe less complicated or cheaper products so you can generate cash flow quicker and perhaps the cheaper products will lead to bigger sales later on.

Good luck and let me know how you are getting on in the comments section below.

If you would like some help with marketing your business or just to share your experiences I would really like to hear from you. Get in touch via the form below and I will email you back.

It’s Not What You Are Selling, It’s How You Sell It

Since the birth of our daughter my wife and I have noticed how nearly everything we have bought or has been given to us for her is made in China. Probably 95% of the stuff has a “Made in China” label, regardless of the price, product, quality or the type of shop it was bought in. Some of the gifts came from high-end boutiques, very nicely wrapped and presented which I suspect cost quite a bit. Continue reading It’s Not What You Are Selling, It’s How You Sell It