Or maybe your sales are just not where you want them to be. Without sales, you don’t have a business making money. So slumping sales aren’t just a downer, it can be downright scary for everyone in the company because the bottom line is that everyone feels the effects. Here are some ways you can get your sales groove back and get the numbers moving in the right direction:
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1. Look at the products and services you offer.
Are you missing anything? Is there something that you can offer that would complement your current offerings? A new product or service can really add some oomph to sales for a company.
Or perhaps it’s how it’s all packaged. Can you bundle certain products or services in a way that not only makes sense, but exudes “newness” as well? The “newness” is exciting and that excitement can shine through in your marketing materials and beyond. And that excitement is contagious to the point where your prospects and current customers want to hop on board and work with you.
2. Brainstorm on the true wants and needs of your audience.
Wants and needs can change. And your marketing materials and sales strategies may not have changed along with those various wants and needs. So have employees from all departments answer the wants and needs question so you can get a diverse sampling of responses.
You may want to contact some of your customers and ask them. They may surprise you with their answers. By adjusting some of your materials (hopefully you won’t need to make a major overhaul) and how you approach your audience, you will see the sales numbers improve.
3. Along with determining the current wants and needs, you should re-evaluate the benefits your products and services offer.
A benefit that would be a great talking point last year may be outdated and impractical now. So update your benefits and make sure that your sales department stresses the new, current benefits to your prospects and customers.
4. Celebrate the little victories.
Your business should be recognizing its hard workers. A happy work environment includes one in which its employees are given the high-five for their ideas, breakthroughs and hitting milestones. And happy employees work harder to hit those goals and keep those customers coming back.
5. Create new sales goals.
When was the last time your sales goals were updated? It’s not easy to get excited about goals if they haven’t been tweaked or brought up-to-date in a long time.
6. Take a walk down memory lane.
While “new” is great, sometimes you should look back to see what you did in the past that worked. Revisit the time that you landed a huge, exciting customer. Or the time that a particular marketing strategy resulted in a huge influx of sales. What was it about those times that seemed to resonate with your audience and create those great results? You don’t want to go back in time and just hit the repeat button, but you do want to look at what actions could translate to today’s market and replicate that.
Selling marketing services may seem like one of those “pie in the sky” endeavors at times. There is more of an emotional component to selling services (versus products), because the intangible is involved. And the results desired (after your awesome services have been utilized) may mean different things to different people.
You aren’t selling an item, you are selling the idea of results and what those results mean to your prospects. Here are the top five practices for selling your marketing services:
1- If you haven’t already, you need to narrow that target market.
Let’s face it, you can’t be all things to all people. And you don’t want to work with everyone. You want to work with the “right” companies. Companies you can help. Companies that fit your brand and “get” your work. Companies that appreciate your expertise.
2 – Since you don’t have a product to offer as a sample to your prospective clients, you need to show them what you can do, without offering up your services for free.
The best way to do this is to create an in-depth online portfolio of sorts that showcases your abilities. Make everything you put out – blog, white papers, newsletters, etc. do “double duty” in that they should be a promotional item that shows off your marketing capabilities, but also provides some information or tips that can help the prospect.
3- Use testimonials and case studies to your advantage.
Prospects like to see what others have to say. A great testimonial is good stuff. But don’t just stick with testimonials. Ask your current happy clients for referrals. Obviously they aren’t going to offer up their competition. But, since no business operates inside a bubble, your clients work with companies (perhaps on joint ventures) that likely need your help. And your clients, when happy with your work, may have a few suggestions on who you should contact and market your services to.
4- Track down the decision maker – don’t get stuck with the gatekeeper.
When you are given referrals, you typically get to go straight to the person who will make the decision whether or not to work with you. But when you acquire leads through other means it’s not unusual to get stuck with someone who doesn’t have the authority to make the decision. You need to determine who is in charge of saying yes to your marketing services and get to that person. Don’t waste your time with the employees who can’t give the green light. Be polite. Be business-like. But push past the keeper of the gate and get to the “right” person.
5 – Since results can be somewhat subjective, you need to pinpoint exactly what your prospective client’s individual needs and wants are.
You may be promising them A, and they really want B. Or they may not understand that A will eventually lead to B. It’s up to you to make the possible results crystal clear. Explain how you can measure the results and what those results will translate into for your client’s business.
In the end the prospect should believe in your abilities, understand what it is that you can do, and believe that you are worth every penny you charge for your services.
Does it take forever for your sales software to generate reports?
Are the reports total garbage?
Does your software fail to provide automated responses to certain operations?
Do you have to input the same information in several different spots or in several different systems in order to have “cohesion?”
Are you limited to how you can access your software dashboard?
There are a lot of ways your automated sales software might make you want to cry. Or perhaps throw your computer across the room. Work shouldn’t be so frustrating. And your software should help you out, not hinder you.
Here is what you should look for when you evaluate sales software for your organization:
- more data
- lead acquisition and management
- forecasting capability
- activity tracking and task management
It goes without saying that you want to work with a system that is flexible enough to suit your specific needs. Not all companies work the same or want a one-size-fits-all solution. You also want a system that allows for more data. Because more data means you can make better decisions because your decisions will be more informed. And it shouldn’t take a long time for the data to provide the answers you need. If you get the data, a software program with immediate history reporting can turn around and give you a profile with the click or two of your mouse.
When you have this kind of flexible and responsive program, you boost productivity and efficiency across the board. You can have all your tasks managed in one spot and even have “to do” lists right there at your fingertips.
Of course, in this day and age, you need unfettered access. On the road? You shouldn’t have to call your team back at headquarters to input an order or some contact information for you. The right program will allow you to hop on and do what you need to do, from virtually anywhere.
If your automated sales software doesn’t do this…it’s time for an overhaul. Your business can benefit from all that the right program has to offer. And you should be covered on everything from getting those leads to closing the deal…and everything in between, with no need for tears.
I recently heard an ad on the radio for a company that was promising to improve your online reputation if you’ve been damaged by “misleading or negative bloggers.” This ad really infuriated me because, quite frankly, a business’s online reputation wouldn’t be “damaged” if there was absolutely no truth to the reviews.
That’s not to say that people don’t have bad experiences; no matter how good you are, it’s impossible to make everyone happy. How you deal with those unhappy reviewers can make the difference between a great online reputation and a bad one. No need to hire a company to falsely load up review sites with fake reviews or to flag negative reviews as “spam” when they’re not; all it takes is the willingness to make it right and make your reviewers happy.
Social media has made it extremely easy for people to post their reviews, thoughts and photos with the world. Between Facebook, Yelp, Google and the numerous travel sites, a guest can post their review from their phone, tablet, or computer at their convenience. Many feel that they shouldn’t waste their time at a hotel, restaurant or store if other reviewers overwhelmingly have said “don’t go.” As a business owner or manager, you should take the time to read all of the reviews of your business on a semi-weekly basis and reply to them.
Good review? That’s an easy reply: “Shawn, we really appreciate you coming in! Glad to hear you had a great experience and we hope to see you again soon.” Or if they pointed out something they loved and you can use it as an up-sell, go for it: “Shawn, thanks for coming to stay with us! Glad you loved those towels; they’re available for purchase on our website www.acmehotel.com”
Now for those that leave negative reviews, you must be willing to not only read their criticism without taking it personally, but also to immediately rectify the situation. When someone leaves a negative review, they’re not doing it to personally attack you. They had a bad experience; it was clearly not rectified while they were there, so they feel the need to vent.
Read their comments very carefully and then respond in detail. Address them by name (or username) and tell them who you are, apologize and end with a positive. As an example: “Steve, my name is Dave and I am the owner of Acme Hotel. I’m so sorry to hear you had a bad experience and I’d like to make it right” Follow this by going through, in detail, their complaint and how you’re going to make it better for the future.
If they complained that the room wasn’t clean, explain that you’re going to work with the housekeeping department to institute new protocols and in the future, guests are always encouraged to contact the front desk if they’d like a new room. If the complaint is about a price change in a restaurant, explain your reasoning for the pricing increase. Perhaps it’s weather related or you wanted a better quality meat for the guests.
Also, be sure to give them contact information for you so that they can call or email you to discuss this further. When you speak, offer them something to make it right; a free night stay, dinner for two, a bottle of wine, etc and ask them that if this experience is better than their last, they leave a new review.
Do you have what it takes to be a mobile marketing legend? You don’t need an advanced degree or specialized training. In order to be destined for mobile marketing greateness, you just need to keep your head in the mobile marketing game. Here are 4 questions you must ask yourself to fulfill your destiny!
1. Do You Stay On Top Of The Latest News?
Do you read articles and watch videos to find out how other companies are tackling the technology? How mobile marketing is evolving? IF you’re not keeping tabs on it, there is no way you can know if you’re going in the right direction.
2. Have You Created A Support Network?
You don’t have to do everything from scratch. This isn’t Homemade Mobile Marketing 101. A support network is a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of the latest and greatest without having to learn everything yourself. Sites like iFlyMobi and Qreate & Track provide that kind of support.
3. Do You Utilize Location-Based Applications?
Business that understand the need to exploit the inherent features of mobile devices understand that using location based apps is a complete no-brainer when it comes to mobile marketing. Anything from a mobile friendly site that can provide directions from the user’s location to your business, to ads that pinpoint users who are local to entice them with a discount is a smart (and imperative to ultimate greatness) aspect of mobile marketing efforts.
4. Are You Embracing Consistency?
Consistency is key – not only in branding, but also in timeliness. You want to make sure you show “who” your company is and not create some new identity through mobile marketing. You also don’t want to over-do it and be in your audience’s face 24/7.