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5 Steps to Leading Significant Sales Growth in Your Local Business – Webinar with Tove Rasmussen


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Tired of competing over the same clients with your competitors? Tove Rasmussen, with Partners for Creating Wealth, provides some great tips on how you can generate significant sales growth in your local business on the PME 360 Powering Business Growth Show.

Tove will reveal in this webinar:

What really separates your local business from the rest of your competitors
Who your company's best prospects are...really...
COMPELLING messages that capture your prospects interest
WHERE to find your company's best prospects
A sales process that moves prospects efficiently and effectively through the final purchase
A great show and well worth watching and learning a few things from one the smartest business consultants I know.

Published in: Education, Business
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5 Steps to Leading Significant Sales Growth in Your Local Business – Webinar with Tove Rasmussen

  1. 1. Powering Growth Online for Local Businesseshttp://www.PME360.com5 Steps to Leading Significant Sales Growth in Your LocalBusiness – Webinar with Tove RasmussenRon: Good morning!Welcome to the PME360 Powering Business Growth Show where each week we talk about the issuesand offer advice on how to power growth for your local business.I’m your host Ron Rodi, Jr. With me today, we have Kurt Milligan, PME360 Digital MarketingSpecialist.Kurt, good morning! How are you?Kurt: I’m doing well. Thank you.Ron: And of course, with me as always, my main man, the man with the plan, the marketing man, ourCEO, Mr. Ryan Paul Adams.Ryan, good morning to you.Ryan: Good morning, Ron. Happy Friday!Ron: Happy Friday to you as well.Excited to have with us this morning, Tove Rasmussen.Tove Rasmussen has a particular passion and strength for growing revenues and profits of smallcompanies and medium-sized businesses. She is bringing this experience to mentoring and counselingwith businesses and help them grow both revenues and profits.Tove Rasmussen has strong expertise in all facets of business including leading, marketing, referrals,regulatory, research and development in technical, manufacturing and operations. She also holds acertified management accounting designation.Each organization, over her 20 years of business experience, Ms. Rasmussen has taken special pride ineffectively mentoring and developing both colleagues and staff.Tove has a BA, Major in Political Science, Minor in African Studies from University of Toronto. As wellas, an MBA from Richard Ivey School of Business.Tove has completed an extensive coaching program grounded in effective listening, as well asproactive coaching fundamentals from the Coaches Training Institute in Washington, DC.Tove lives near the coast of Northern England enjoying hiking in the summer, skiing in the winter andthe ocean all year round.Warm welcome and good morning to Tove Rasmussen.Tove, how are you?Tove: Good! Good morning, Ron. And thanks for the wonderful introduction.
  2. 2. Powering Growth Online for Local Businesseshttp://www.PME360.comRon: I’d guess that you had good snow to ski this winter.Tove: There was some good snow to skip up here. Fabulous days! But now we’re headed into spring.We’d get to go canoeing and hiking. So looking forward to that.Ryan: I’m looking forward to it.Tove: I think we all are.We can just look at here – what we’re going to be covering today. Really help your sales growsignificantly. That’s the key. And you’ll see on the slide, the 5 steps that we’ve got. The key thingsthat the company needs to do really in order to get significant sales growth.Although I’ve chosen this order for the 5 steps, if you’re looking for competitive advantage and youhaven’t figured that out yet, you may want to start with he second item, which is figuring out yourtarget market before you get to the competitive advantage.Because you want to understand what the key needs are, what the unmet needs are in order to figurethat out. So the order of the steps is really based on what the company needs to accomplish.Another thing to pay attention to as well is that all the steps are related. So insights into thecompetitive advantage can then give you, can shift the direction for your best target market whichthen will affect where you want to promote.It’s not as simple as 1-2-3. But I have tried to simplify it and tear it down and get it to key points foryou today.So competitive advantage is what separates you from the competition. That’s critical to knowbecause it is what will drive your increase in sales. Companies need competitive advantage to drivegrowth. So what is it?It is where you are better than competition. And it has to be something that customers care about inorder to actually drive the sales.So do you know what your competitive advantage is?I’ve got some examples for you. And one example in particular that kind of highlights what this is. It’sthe example of an organic spirit company.A woman named Allison Evanow out of California has an experience in the restaurant market. Andshe knows that serious chefs were moving from flavors in the garden combined in unexpected ways.We’ve seen this in restaurants.And she thought you can translate this into alcohol like vodka. And that would really opened upterritory for great cocktails. So she started out Square 1 Organic Vodka. It debuted in 2006.She used high quality ingredients and unique processes. So people actually sip vodka. It actually tastesgood. It’s not just something where you put in a flavor and then it tastes good. It tastes good on itsown.And Square 1 reached a million in sales in 2011 with this advantage. So how does this apply to you?How do you know that you actually have the advantage over the competition?
  3. 3. Powering Growth Online for Local Businesseshttp://www.PME360.comWell, a lot of us rely a lot on internal company knowledge. But it can be very faulty. There is a naturalbias for a company to think that it’s better than it is. Say for example in customer service, we all thinkwe are great. But is this true?It could be true. Actually, you want to back this internal view up with objective outside information.This information can be from customer service. It can be from sales. It can be from sales call. But youalso want to balance this by third-party research. Third-party market research is unbiased.People from the company call customers or call prospects and talk to them and the responses can bebiased. Most people try to be polite.It may not seem like it but people do try to be polite. And this can skew the results. The results canbe further skewed if there’s a prize or an incentive for people to respond.So it’s very important to have the sales call information. But it’s also important to balance that withthird-party objective information.Ron: I normally put a little something in my vodka so it’s interesting to drink vodka by itself.Tove: Have you tried to sip it?Ron: I probably should.Tove: If it’s Square 1 Organic Vodka. And I think there’s a few out there now that’s sold apparently.But vodka is not really my drink.So, how do you know that the advantage that you have such as organic vodka matters to your targetmarket? Well, ask them.And don’t just accept the first quick response. I mean, people will say cost or speed. They want theservice faster, they want a lower cost.But if they say cost, take a look at what percentage of their cost your product is. How important is itto them. And if it is, are there ways to reduce their overall costs say telecommunication cost withouthaving to lower your price?Look at the whole picture, not just your little piece of the pie. Perhaps there is a way to reduce thatoverall cost. Or perhaps they’ll say they need a faster response. But why do they? Is it going to savethem labor? Is this going to allow them to process or sell more goods?And how is that faster response going to fit in their workflow? If you increase the speed form 2 hoursto 1 hour, is that really going to make a difference to them? Are they going to pick up on email faster?So, really, take a look at what’s going to have an impact. And if you deliver cost savings or a salesincrease, then that’s the value to the customers which you deliver. That will factor to the price they’rewilling to pay.So how much do these things matter to your target market? How much does your target market carewhether the vodka has flavored or not?Well, you can find out the top 3 items from the customers when they are purchasing your product orservice. Again, you can do surveys. You can talk to them. Pull that information together or it’s good to
  4. 4. Powering Growth Online for Local Businesseshttp://www.PME360.comhave them from different sources. And then, try to figure out, is the first issue, say service, is that wayahead from the second issue, say that’s the consistent quality.Are the two really close together? What’s the relationship between them? Why is one much moreimportant than the other? Because this will help you understand where to focus on unmet needs andreally gain an important competitive advantage in your market place.So, here I’ve got a tool that you can use to be able to rank your sales and your competitors based onthe requirements of your particular target market segments.In the vodka example here – this is a fictitious example, the first requirement is organic. The secondrequirement is flavor. And the third is the ability to sell direct to customers as supposed to throughdistributors.So in this example, I’ve assumed that Square 1 is the first one in the market and the others arecatching up. So you see here that Source 1 is doing really well in all segment requirements.They’ve got a competitor. A couple that are good in the organic end of things but not so good in theflavor and they have not really figured out that direct to customer piece.So that’s an excellent scenario. That’s where a company really has a competitive advantage and canreally gain a share in the market.However, there is another scenario to where perhaps competitors have caught up. And perhaps,they’re good or as good in most of these parameters.Then, it’s a matter of figuring out other unmet customer needs on which to excel or figure out how toexcel even further on these particular elements.So having a true representation of where you are versus your competitors on achieving target marketreally helps you drive strategy that’s going to be effective.Ron: What it is, is very similar to a SWOT analysis. Really understanding your standing, your strengthsand weaknesses of competition, is it not?Tove: Yes, it is, a SWOT analysis.You look at the strengths and weaknesses of yourself and competitors. And this is tying it all to whatis important to your target market.So I mean, if you’re really good at something that your customers don’t care about, then it’s really notgoing to drive growth.It’s really important to understand and look at what is important to the target market. Understandthat in a lot of details.Now that you’ve figured out the competitive advantage, we then look at the target market itself. Andthese are your company’s best prospects. This is where you’re getting your business from.I often hear business owners say that their market is everyone.However, there are a number of reasons to avoid this approach. First of all, trying to appeal toeveryone waters down the message so much. It becomes meaningless.
  5. 5. Powering Growth Online for Local Businesseshttp://www.PME360.comSecond, the business trying to please everyone will use a lot of resources and will likely not please anyof them particularly well. Because it’s very difficult to do everything well.And third, trying to promote to everyone makes it very expensive. It’s so much cheaper to focus on asmaller market niche. Gain a foothold there and then expand.Then, finally, usually a company has specific expertise and advantages in a particular area – soleverage those first and build on that.It’s a lot cheaper in terms of strategy. So the more focus the business is, the more effective it is.Ron: We’ve seen this day in and day out. I think you bring up a great point there. Really understandyour niche. Really understand how to talk to them. Master that and then move on to the next.Tove: Yes. It is a lot cheaper as not everybody has the budget of Coca Cola.But then, you take a look at who you sell to. That’s the first thing, and one way to break it down is tosay, “Am I selling to consumers like Coca Cola does or am I selling to business?”Or as what I’ve done here, you can break it down to industry segments: different industries, differentprofessions, different demographics (age, gender and so on).So I put some examples of broad potential markets here.When you look at your broader market, say for example contractors. Certain ones are more likelywant your services more than others? So in this case, we can make your business, say online localmarketing services.Contractors who want more sales are open to online marketing and who will pay for online marketingwill be the target market.In this case, if you look at the slide here. In terms of customer needs, you are looking for customerswho have a need for more customer sales. You are looking for customers who have thecharacteristics of openness to online marketing and also the characteristic of either breakeven orprofit or have the cash to pay for the online marketing service.Another example here is the telecommunications market. You can say to somebody who runs atelecommunications company, “Who’s your market?”First answer would be, everybody who owns a phone. But everybody who uses the phone, that couldjust be somebody who has one or two lines. This company who is managing the telecommunicationcould be to hard make money when they’re managing such a small telecommunication system.So, the second answer that person would come up with after thinking about it a little bit could be,“Well, they would need 50 lines or more to be profitable for us.”Looking at product usage, how much does the customer use your product? It is often an importantfactor in market segments. Then after that, they get to think a little bit more.They’ll think, some customers have 50 lines and they’re quite happy to put together atelecommunications department to manage a few lines.But other customers want to outsource non-core functions like telecommunications. And those arethe target segments.
  6. 6. Powering Growth Online for Local Businesseshttp://www.PME360.comThe ones that have those 50 lines. And ones that are open to outsourcing. Because some companieslike to control everything and make sure it’s exactly how their company runs it.Other companies want to focus on what they’re really good at. And outsource the rest of it. So that’sreally customer needs that’s based on strategy.Ron: And being able to reveal the third answer, on the customer end and your prospect’s end, that’sreally key.So if you’re talking to a company that use the phone, has 50 lines or more but if they’re not willing tooutsource then you really need to do your homework prior to going after that target. That thirdanswer is very important.Tove: Yes it is.Then you get into the ones that aren’t focused on outsourcing now but perhaps they’d be open to itin the future. But the easier ones are those who have outsourcing as part of their strategy.That can be researched or can be covered in one of the initial conversations, depending on theinformation that is out there.It could be easier to figure out if they have 50 lines, often on a company website or a news articleabout the company. They will talk about things like that often.So you’ve figured out the target market segments and you want to know if it’s a good segment.It is possible to try to target everyone. It’s also possible to come up with a target market, which has sosmall revenue potential that it’s not going to be enough for the company.It’s really important to understand the target market, the total market annual revenue, the annualmarket dollars in that segment.And don’t assume that the company is going to get a 100% share. I mean, some companies won’tbuy. They will do other things, and then there are usually competitors. It’s a fact of life. Factor that inas well. Take a look at the market size.Do that extra step and make sure that there’s enough in there for you – and a few others probably.But, if you got a good market then you don’t need much.Ron: That’s right.Tove: The other thing, too, when you’re looking at market segments is you want to make sure they’redifferent from each other so that A is different in an important way from the other two segments.For example, going back to the vodka, the organic – that’s one segment. Then, another segment is “gowith mixes”.So just make sure that they’re distinct. And, finally, this is something we’re going to cover later on.Of course, you want to make sure that you can reach the target market. If you’re in the Northeast USand your target market is going to be in Timbuktu, how are you going to get there?
  7. 7. Powering Growth Online for Local Businesseshttp://www.PME360.comYou want to make sure or even if it’s located there, that you’ve got a way to actually meet people inthat particular market segment. You’d want to figure that out. But, we will cover that later.Just make sure that you have access to that market.Now you’ve got your target market. There are certain requirements that market has, how well do youmeet them? Do you have the right products, the image, the technical skills, the capacity?Also, if your company is known in that segment. And how large is you market share in that segment?It’s really important to be close to the market. To understand what those markets need. And to beable to adapt to those changes in the segments.Markets, especially now, are changing all the time. These changes include market needs, electronicchanges, global changes, economic changes and so on,]It’s important to look ahead and think about what are these changes that are happening. Is thecompany ready? Does the company have the right skills in place to be able to address these thingswhen they occur?That also fits with the company growing. So the company is bringing in a certain amount of revenuenow. You want to grow it. What do you need in place for that?Are you putting the pieces for that? Have you thought about how to grow from contractors toemployees? Where are you going to find employees? Which skills you need?So this is where the whole strategic planning comes really to play. Looking 5 years out, figuring outwhat you need. It’s not going to be a crystal ball. You’re not going to know exactly what’s going on in5 years. But it helps you to be ready for what’s going on. And to make sure that you are moving in theright direction, that you have the right things in place to be able to grow.One final note on target markets, take time to better understand your competitive advantage in themarket and confirm the market needs with prospect call and market research.The two right there are iterative. If you find out more in the target market, the needs for that marketthen that modifies the insights of what the competitive advantage should be.The two will go back and forth. You will gain insight into the target market which will gain insights intocompetitive advantage.It’s not a straight line process. Not quite like baking a cake.So we move on to a message. You know where your company excels now. You know who your targetmarket is. Now you’ve got to create a compelling message for your prospects. This is where I’ve donea great work.I thought I would leverage some of the work by Eppler and Bischof. I’ve also got some investor andcustomer pitch template if you’re interested. Just email me, let me know and I could get that to you.So they use message, which is called CLEA0052 – which is what we are trying to be here. And it startswith context. So set the stage.
  8. 8. Powering Growth Online for Local Businesseshttp://www.PME360.comThe people you’re talking to have not been thinking of business for months and months. It’s not ontheir minds everyday. You need to get their attention. And you need them to get thinking about yourbusiness.And then of course, make sure that your pitch has a logical structure. A jumbled mass of thoughts isgoing to lose your audience. It will be difficult to understand.What you want is a clear, crisp presentation of your business – why it is better than competition.Include the potentials: the revenue potential, the management team potential, what’s been done sofar that gives you a lot of credibility.Include any action or request of what you want them to do. And stick to the key elements – the mainmessage.Know the main message and only include the items that strengthen the message. And that could bevery difficult to do because there are always good stories and there are always other things to say,You don’t want to be completely dry. But make sure it’s relevant and easy to understand.It is the first time your audience has heard this. And they’re trying to take it in. so help them with that.There is a tool for readability that you can use. There’s a readability test tool that can help you withjust how readable it is. You can write it out.By writing it out, you can take a look using the readability tools. You can also take a look at the words.Make sure they are known. Stay away from acronyms. They lose so many people.Ryan: There are a lot of them out there.Tove: There are so many. And we are so used to them, we forget that were saying them. There arepeople who use them everybody. Different companies use different use different acronyms.Ryan: I’ll be talking up clients and prospects, I’ll be throwing around all kinds of acronyms. And they’dbe like, “Ahhh…No idea of what you’re talking about.”Sometimes, I’d slow down and be like, “That’s right, I live and breathe this way everyday. This isn’tyour thing.”I get to talk and this is a whole different language.Tove: Yeah. You’ve got to meet where they are pretty much.Ryan: Absolutely.Ron: You’re so entrenched on it, day in and day out that the other person is not. The last thing you dois glossed them over and be really above their heads.Tove: It happens so much. There is also the ambiguity and ambiguous terms.There are actual tables of ambiguous terms to stay away from. And I have copied one on here foranybody who is interested.Ron: That’s very helpful.
  9. 9. Powering Growth Online for Local Businesseshttp://www.PME360.comTove: Yeah. I hope soAnd then finally, I think most importantly, not only don’t you want not to lose your audience, youwant them to understand.You also want to feel it. You want what you’re saying to resonate with your audience.And this is where you want to appeal to their pains, their needs, what’s in it for them. And, use theirwords.If you’re saying it and they come back with different words and you hear that a few times. Then that’sprobably the words to use. You want it to be their message and be something that they can relate to.And then you may think you’re done. You’ve written it all out, it’s not ambiguous, it’s clear. Then try itout.See how people respond. Does it capture their interest? Are they half-asleep? Or are they lost? Whatquestions do you get? If you get good questions, they’re probably interested.And again, listen to what they say. Listen to what they ask. It can all help you. It’s kind of a living,breathing thing. There’s the ideal of getting to a point where it’s final. But you know, you’ll get betterat it.But there’s nothing like trying to get it out to people and getting a response – how it really works.So now you have a compelling message. Where are you going to use this compelling message topromote your product or your service?It’s really very simple. You just promote wherever your prospects are, wherever they hang out. Sohow do you do that?Well, that gets to be more complicated. There are a lot of places. You want to know where they lookwhen they’re buying. You want to know how they buy, who they talk to, what they read, the websitesthey go to, the associations they belong to, conferences, the social media that they use.All these things because this is where they are. Some of this, you may already know from being in themarket. And you can find out more by asking, either in conversations or part of your formal marketresearch.And you want specifics. You don’t want people to say, “I go to a couple of conferences. I belong to acouple of associations.”You need to know which one in order to actually go to them and promote to them or be there.I put together a quick format for you to be able to use and it has the website, social media,associations, conference, Google searches if you want to promote over Google, and there’s a varietyof other things.Then just list them down. Then prioritize when they respond – who’s saying it, if it’s the right targetmarket, how many times are you hearing it, which ones are the closest to be at.And people will tell you. You will find out.
  10. 10. Powering Growth Online for Local Businesseshttp://www.PME360.comThe important thing, too, in promotion is not just to promote but to monitor the results. Did you getadditional leads? Did you get additional meetings? Did you get additional sales? What did come out ofit?Ron: Sure, track your efforts.Tove: If you don’t get sales, people can say, “At least we get branding, it can help with visibility too“But of course, it’s important to get sales, too.Ryan: Yeah, for sure.Tove: Speaking of sales. That moves us on to the sales process. And what you want is one that movesprospects to the final purchase.People often look at sales as a magic function. We’ve all heard of sales people who can sell anythingto people who don’t actually need them.I’m sure that happens. But really, I kind of like to sell to people who need them.There is the art of gaining sales and gaining prospects’ trust through credibility but a lot of it comeswith knowing what you’re selling and having a passion for what you’re selling.So there’s the art piece of it. There’s also the science piece of it where it is a process. And prospectsare transformed into customers so they move down this sales funnel to the close.And it can be tracked, through these different steps.Your steps could look a little different, depending on what your sales process is. And certain products,if you’re selling airplanes, it will have a longer selling cycle than when you’re selling staplers. It’sdifferent for different products. But it’s still a process with 5 steps.And it’s possible to track the number to each of this step. And to see where things are leaking out ofthe funnel.In the beginning, the idea is to have a lot of leads. And then the number will drop as those leaks arequalified. Maybe they’re not in your target market or the timing isn’t right. Whatever the issue, theyneed to be qualified. So that’s fine to have leakage between generating leads and qualifying them.But you’d definitely want to generate more leads that are qualified. That can be the area to look outfor.But the thing is, as you move down the funnel, you spend time with the prospects, then it gets moreexpensive.So you would want to be more efficient with those steps that come later in the process. It costs moreto lose people as it moves down the funnel.Ron: Sure.Tove: It’s a matter of taking a look at the different steps. And where the prospects are getting lost andnot moving to the end.
  11. 11. Powering Growth Online for Local Businesseshttp://www.PME360.comIt’s critical to understand what’s the issue. Is it the wrong prospect? Is it that they didn’t fullyunderstand the benefit of what your product or service offers? What are the reasons? And what canchange to make that process more efficient to have those leads go straight through the close and tolose less of them through leaking out of that funnel.Ron: it’s a good slide. And I think, it has lots to do with my experience really not having that mutualmystification, really understanding clearly what the agenda is.If you’re going to be taking meetings, if it’s closer and closer to close, really getting thatunderstanding of specifically this is what were going to be discussing in the day and making sure thatit’s clearly defined. Not just showing up. Really having a clearly defined agenda and a clearly definedgoal for that particular meeting. That’s really important.Tove: That’s an excellent point because often, you can just be excited about having a meeting. But ifthere’s no an understanding of the goal of that meeting, then it can also be a waste of time as well.And understanding the agenda for that meeting, understanding what the prospect wants to get out ofit, understanding what their motivations are, etc – those are very important.There are some good sales tools and sales training that really goes into some of those things as wellthat can help a lot. That can be part of it.It can be the selling, it can be the listening, it can be the product, it can be the clarification or thetalking about the benefit part or it can just be the qualification.Maybe there’s another element that needs to be qualified. So that there are just as many prospectsthat go through and are spent time on but don’t end up buying,But just to take time and look at that – the ethereal sales process that just occurred. It is somethingthat can be analyzed.Ron: Absolutely,Tove: So that’s pretty much what I have here today. Those are the 5 steps to increasing your salessignificantly. Focusing on the those steps will really help your company to increase sales and if youwant to get into any of those points in depth, in terms of what your customers need, feel free to giveme a call or get in touch. I’d love to talk to you further about it,Ron: Very good, Tove!We really appreciate you coming on.For more information, email or questions or resources that you want to share, Tove would be very happy to do that.Again, we appreciate your time this morning. Enjoy the rest of your Friday! Certainly enjoy spring.And we hope to be in touch down the road.Tove: Sure.Thanks a lot Ron. Thank you Ryan. It was so good catching up with all of you.
  12. 12. Powering Growth Online for Local Businesseshttp://www.PME360.comRyan: Yeah, thank you for doing this! I appreciate it very much.Tove: Looking forward to keeping in touch.Ron: Thank you! Take care now. Bye!Ryan: Bye!