Sell Your Way to Success


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Sales boosting strategies for local business including
--Cross-Sell for Greater Profits
--Cash In on Customer Loyalty
--Change Your Selling Perspective
--Great Ways to Rev Up Retail Sales
--B2B Selling Mistakes to Avoid

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Sell Your Way to Success

  1. 1. 1 Sell Your Way to SuccessSales-Boosting Strategies for Local Businesses By Daniel Kehrer To advertise with Dex One call 877-933-9249
  2. 2. 2 Contents Cross-Sell for Greater Profits Cash In on Customer Loyalty Change Your Selling Perspective Great Ways to Rev Up Retail Sales B2B Selling Mistakes to Avoid To advertise with Dex One call 877-933-9249
  3. 3. 3 Cross-Sell for Greater ProfitsW hy sell just one product or service when you can sell two or three? And why promote to only your own prospect lists when other businesses could help you promote to their lists as well? That, in short, is what cross-selling and cross-promotion are about — two inexpensive andcost-effective ways to generate sales and expand your marketing efforts. Here’s an example: French Toast is a school uniform company that sells almost everything kids need to wear to school — except shoes. So the company swapped coupons in its outgoing mail orders with shoe seller Stride Rite Kids. Both businesses were targeting the same customers (moms with school-age children), so both could benefit. French Toast hooked up with Stride Rite via a website that facilitates marketing-related matchups. One such site, IntroNiche, lets you post,buy or swap marketing opportunities such as coupon inserts, signage, invoice stuffers, Internet bannersand menu ads. Such sites function as a marketplace where promotional opportunities can be sold orswapped by any business, organization or nonprofit.Cross-Sell Your Own Products or ServicesYou can also cross-sell within your own business by offering customers a product or service related towhatever they are already buying. It can be as simple as the waiter asking if the customer wants soup ora salad to go with the main course. It’s a subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) way of encouraging clientsto spend a little more. And customers generally don’t mind. Surveys show that most buyers appreciatebeing told about additional products or services that might better meet their needs or about new itemsthat were not offered before. It’s a way of demonstrating that you care about your customers beingsatisfied.The key to successful cross-selling is to focus your efforts on meeting the customers needs rather thanjust pushing more products and services. Treat the cross-selling process like a suggestion so customerswill volunteer more information about their requirements. Here are some ways to improve youropportunities for cross-selling:  Stay focused. Don’t overload customers with unrelated cross-selling suggestions or you’ll blow it. To gain the extra sale, you might just need to mention that the other products or services are available.  Emphasize value. Build your approach around serving the customer, not just selling more stuff. Describe how the additional products or services can further solve the customers problems.  Cross-sell online. Position cross-sell items on your website, where they can help educate shoppers on the depth and variety of what you offer. Mix and match items. To advertise with Dex One call 877-933-9249
  4. 4. 4  Offer a range of prices. If you suggest three items to complement a product, try to offer a mix of price points.  Post expert recommendations. One way to facilitate cross-selling is to state specific recommendations from professionals, experts or other customers. This could be a chef’s recommendation on a menu, a doctor’s recommendation on a mailer, or lists of related items that other customers have purchased.  Try product or service bundles. Bundling has long been used as a way to entice shoppers to buy not just a single item, but several items that go together. Offering a price break on package deals will help close the sale.And dont forget to train your team to make sure they know what youre offering and how best to sell it. Cash In on Customer LoyaltyF or millions of local business owners, the more times change, the more they stay the same: You’re always scrambling to find new customers and keep existing ones. You’re still hustling to handle the hundred-and-one day-to-day tasks required to run a business and manage your employees. Butwhen local business conditions are challenging, it’s more important than ever to be vigilant about keeping the customers or clients that you already have and fully realize their “lifetime value” to your business. When sales dip, the tendency is to focus on developing new business. That generally has it backward. The first move is to keep what you’ve got because it costs twice as much to gain a new customer as it does to keep an existing one. Try these tactics to keep customers and gain their loyalty:  Provide more frequent updates and progress reports. Show your customers or clients the work you’ve been doing and the results you’ve achieved. This will help answer unasked questions and allay latent fears.  Get some face time. If you deal mostly by email, your website or phone, make an effort to meet in person. This says you are interested and gives you an opportunity to literally see things that you can help address.  Ask for feedback. Never assume a customer is completely satisfied. Throughout the process, whether youre an accountant or a retailer, ask how your customer feels about what you’re doing. Then take action on any suggestions that you believe have merit. Think of yourself as a waiter who checks back throughout the meal to see if everything is OK. To advertise with Dex One call 877-933-9249
  5. 5. 5  Tune your offering. As proud as you may be about your product or service, remember it’s being made or done for the customer. Make certain you know what they want and when they want it.  Be flexible. Things change. Customers may want to change terms, conditions, purchase orders, payment processes or other things. Customers will appreciate it when you show a willingness to work with them on adapting to new conditions. Change Your Selling PerspectiveI f sales are stalled and things seem stagnant at your business, this might be a good time to consider a fresh look at how you operate from a sales point of view. This can be especially valuable if you’vebeen in business a long time, in which case some of your methods mayneed a little freshening up. But even if you’ve only been around a shorttime, small businesses moving beyond the initial stages of startup findthemselves facing an entire new set of challenges. The “to-do” list getseven longer and is filled with tasks that didn’t exist before. Likewise, aweak economy adds to the burden as well.A website that seemed great a couple years ago might now be woefully inadequate. Your business mightneed to review benefits such as health insurance or retirement plans to look for cost savings. Vendorcontracts may be ripe for cost savings. Outdated technology might be causing you to lose business.Bookkeeping systems could use streamlining and marketing methods that once sparkled might not beworking anymore.And what about that pool of customers you’ve carefully coddled? Are you taking care of them like youshould? Customer service is an area that’s prone to break down.Wherever you turn, there are needs that will either become problems for your business -- oropportunities -- depending on whether you put them off or face them now. Consider these strategies tochange the way you run your business:  Perform a business self-diagnostic. First examine the components of your business operations, such as sales, marketing, web presence, finances, employees and technology. Make two lists: One list of things that are working and one of things that aren’t. Just because you or your business has done something a certain way in the past doesn’t mean it’s adding value to your business. Old habits may in fact be hindering your success, so this is the time to seek them out and make changes. To advertise with Dex One call 877-933-9249
  6. 6. 6 Overhaul your website. This is a place where many small businesses slip. Websites are living entities that need to constantly evolve. Stagnant, outdated and ugly websites are a quick way to turn off an increasingly web-savvy customer universe. Help is available. Dex One offers high- quality, cost-efficient website solutions, including professional website design services, worry- free hosting and support, up to 15 email addresses, easy-to-use website tools and more. SEO- friendly web pages help your business get read easily by search engines, so your business can get found by ready-to-buy customers searching for your products or services. Dex also provides mobile websites. Hold brainstorming sessions. Brainstorming is one of the most powerful ways any small business can find solutions to tough problems. But many business owners and entrepreneurs do not use this age-old tool effectively. The key is to enlist as many viewpoints as you can -- from employees, vendors, tech people and outside advisors. Test out as many promising ideas as you reasonably can and keep the best Eyeball your sales copy. Are your marketing messages making the grade? If sales have slumped, the answer may be “no.” Make sure your main theme is still effective, that it is supported with current facts, figures and third-party references, and that it describes the benefits that customers will receive from your product or service. Are your message headlines “grabbers” and does your sales copy flow smoothly and quickly? A good place to find marketing ideas is Line up testimonials and customer reviews. Customer testimonials are a terrific marketing tool for small businesses. Make a practice of encouraging, gathering and using customer testimonials. Many small retailers are driving revenue by helping customers post reviews on Yelp, DexKnows, Facebook and other sites. Take care of your best customers. First you need to know who they are. Examine your customer list to determine which ones are the most profitable for your business. Keep in mind that while you might go out of your way to do things for certain customers, they might not be your best bet. Tell the true VIP customers you really appreciate their business. Ask about their needs and encourage their feedback. Engage employees as partners. If energy has gone flat at your business it could be because your employees no longer feel fully engaged in what your business is trying to do. Share information about how the business is performing and what its strategic goals are for the year. Ask for their input and really listen to and implement their suggestions. Look for ways to stoke their passion for what you’re doing. To advertise with Dex One call 877-933-9249
  7. 7. 7 Great Ways to Rev Up Retail SalesA t times, it might seem like nobody is spending money. But the shoppers are out there — you just have to attract them to your store, says retail expert Rick Segel, author of Retail Business Kit for Dummies. Segel offers these sales-boosting strategies for retailers:  Soup-up your signage. Retail signage is one of the least appreciated but most effective forms of brand building. It sells more goods than any other tool and it can be a real difference-maker in tough times. “The key is knowing what types of signs to use, when to use them and how many are too many or too few,” says Segel. Survey your customers about your signs. Ask whether they recall what your signs look like. If a sign brought them in, ask them what made the sign work.  Pump vendors for info. If you run a retail business, chances are you have few chances to get out and about. Let vendors be your eyes and ears. They visit other stores constantly. Ask them what stores like yours are doing; whether they’ve seen any unique marketing efforts or hot products you aren’t offering.  Tap the “cheap high." People crave quick pick-me-ups —usually something that offers instant gratification. For some people that might mean buying a new purse; for others it’s a new CD, DVD or night at the local pub. “Make sure the products in your store that fall into this category are easy to find,” says Segel.  Overhaul inventory. Inventory is your biggest risk. The flow of merchandise in and out determines success. Evaluate your inventory at least every other week in good times – weekly when things are slow. You need to know what you have that isn’t selling, and you need to know whether you’ve overbought a certain item. Look at dollars spent — not just units.  Energize sales staff with a units-per-transaction (UPT) contest. UPT shows how many “units” (items) are sold per transaction. A UPT contest helps pinpoint your best salespeople and lets you get a little extra out of everyone. Encourage everyone to sell at least two items per transaction and offer a prize to the employee who sells the most items per transaction on average. When the contest is over, evaluate whether you have some ineffective salespeople who are hurting your business.  Sell “wants” over “needs.” People find a way to buy what they need — gas, pet food, toilet paper. It’s the things they want that get eliminated. Focus more on pushing non- essentials. If you’re having a sale, don’t discount “need” items. You want people paying full price for those. Instead, put “want” items on sale so customers are tempted to purchase a couple of those when they are headed to your register with their “need” items. To advertise with Dex One call 877-933-9249
  8. 8. 8 B2B Selling Mistakes to Avoid“O rganic growth” – or building a business with your own internal resources – makes good sense for many small businesses. But many small firms that sell business-to-business (B2B) make predictable mistakes that inhibit their ability to compete. Dan Adams, president of Advanced Industrial Marketing, has spent his career helping companies that sell B2B overcome obstacles that stunt organic growth. Here are some of the missteps that Adams has seen others make and that you can avoid: Mistake #1: Imagining customers needs in a vacuum. At most businesses, the new product process begins with the word “idea.” But whose idea is it; yours or your customers? Unfortunately, mostsuppliers start with their own solution, not the customer’s. Then they try to validate it by showing it tosome potential customers and measuring what they consider to be marketplace “need” by watchingwhat happens when they launch the product. That’s backward, says Adams. “Companies should invertthis process,” he says. “Start with customer needs and end with supplier solutions. Doing things in thewrong order may feel better, but it’s far less likely to result in sales and customer satisfaction.”Mistake #2: Relying on sales reps to capture customers needs. Salespeople alone are not the rightones to uncover what’s needed in the marketplace. That’s because they are usually rewarded for near-term selling and often can’t reach the true decision-makers anyway. But put a good salesperson on ateam with marketing and technical colleagues, train all in advanced B2B interviewing methods and you’llrun circles around your competitors.Mistake #3: Failing to research the market or seek customers feedback. Many small companies relyon prior knowledge or simply “gut feeling” when devising new products and services for the B2Bmarketplace. But these days, even small firms need to be more sophisticated in their approach todetermining true customer needs and “pain points.” One low-cost approach is to train yourself and allof your employees to routinely interact with customers for the expressed purpose of gatheringintelligence about their needs. Sometimes, the best information can come through casual comments.Soon, you’ll overwhelm your competitors by turning a trickle of customer feedback into a torrent.Mistake #4: Using hand-me-down consumer goods methods. Traditional consumer-type researchrelies on surveys, questionnaires and interviews. That’s fine for consumer goods, but B2B customerstend to be more measured and rational in their approach to purchasing and they are far fewer innumber. They’re smart and will make you smarter if you engage them in a peer-to-peer dialogue. Letthem lead you to their areas of interest, probe with skill, and you’ll be shocked at how much you’ll learn.Mistake #5: Discounting customer feedback. ”A new client once came to me extremely frustrated,”says Adams. “He had spent months interviewing customers, only to hear his partner say he didn’tbelieve what customers were saying.” Unfortunately, business owners often hear only what they want To advertise with Dex One call 877-933-9249
  9. 9. 9to hear from customers. What you need is quantitative data that measure customer importance andsatisfaction on key outcomes. If you skip this step, your new product will be based on assumptions, biasand wishful thinking.Mistake #6: Listening only to immediate customers. Unlike B2C producers, your product might becomepart of your customers’ products, your customers’ customers’ products and so on. It’s a mistake tointerview only your direct customers because they are usually unable or unwilling to disclosedownstream needs. To advertise with Dex One call 877-933-9249