View Full Version : Question of the week: What do you do to jumpstart sales?
05-29-2011, 12:05 AM
If you own or operate a business, you've been there. You need to make a sales goal for one reason or another, (for me it was to make payroll) and you have to spur sales and quickly.
What tricks have you used to make sales happen?
05-29-2011, 05:13 AM
Networking functions. I hate them, but they do work. I force myself to go to at least one function a week - and vary the hosts so I don't end up talking to all the same people. I go with an attitude of "Today I am going to find someone I can help" - so I tell myself it's not a SALES thing. Works for me. I usually come away with at least one new real lead - then it's up to me to do the follow up and make the sale.
05-29-2011, 10:30 AM
Nice job Helen. great answer. How about if you're in a panic for sales? Do you take a different approach?
05-29-2011, 10:03 PM
Short Answer : By Simplifying my offering and breaking services down to a point where people understand what you do
Long Answer: I do think Helen's approach is the most effective going in with the help mentality. I have ended up closing on deals because I was willing to help and people really appreciated the help to the extent they decided to do business with me.
Reading some of the threads here exchanging emails with Chris and Joe got me thinking on how I need to improve the way people see my services. I also finished the book Enchantment which does have some great tips on simplifying things.
I have a lot less traffic on my corporate site http://cimapr.net than my blog. So I decided to fix my "Work With Me" page on my blog with a simple presentation on how I can help you with my business or as a person (from a business perspective).
It would be great if you guys can take a look and give me your opinion on my approach to getting my blog readers to understand what I do for a living from a general stand point!
How can I help You? (http://raulcolon.net/2011/05/28/how-can-i-help-you/)
05-29-2011, 11:39 PM
I want to see your customer. I want to read your customers success story working with you.
I want to see myself in that customer and I want to see myself being helped by you.
As much as I want to know what problem you solve for your customer, I also want to know what pain you solve for them.
What I mean is, consider the drill company that thought their customers wanted drills, when the
reality was that the customers wanted holes! Drills were just one tool to make the
holes. What if they thought of themselves as a provider of holes?
If you can find a way to demonstrate the answer to questions like this, I'd have no question about what you do.
I want you to tell me AND show me. Again, I want to see myself in your customer.
05-30-2011, 12:13 AM
I sell services. As a trick to jumpstart sales, I have often donated some of those services to silent auctions in the community. There is only one winner, but it has stimulated the potential buyers, and most often they go with booking the service anyway. And the person who won the services, is also very likely to use more services after we started a project.
05-30-2011, 01:13 PM
I think your answer help me tune into many things. But I still need to work harder on laying out the variety of holes my drill can create.
I will brainstorm how I can get to those answers. Thanks again!
05-30-2011, 01:14 PM
I think that is a great way to interest people. Would like to get more info on how a Silent Auction works. Might be a good topic to start so we can elaborate. Awesome idea!
05-30-2011, 03:02 PM
Raul, about the silent auctions: those are generally local fundraising events in my community. Instead of making a donation in dollars to the event or to the charity, if they have a silent auction as one of their fundraiser features, I donate a gift certificate for a couple or more hours of whatever service is appropriate for the target public of the event.
Because those are local events, it serves me as exposure. Sometimes, I am even present at the event, so I can push people to bid on my donation, because they know me, and the idea is not only to get a client, but to give to a good cause! (I don't get paid for it of course). The result is a good buzz around my offers.
(Also need to add that this being a donation of services, you can deduct it from your taxes).
05-30-2011, 06:14 PM
I believe that the shortest route to spur sales is to decrease your current customers sales cycle, you know, more frequency in buying.
Anyone else with me? Oh, wait. You have built your customer database, haven't you?
05-30-2011, 09:01 PM
I pick up the phone (or email) all the hottest prospects I have. I listen even more carefully than ever for my existing customers problems knowing that if I can help them solve those problems the sale will close more quickly. I try to cultivate relationships at the highest level I can in the organizations I am doing business with. The higher level the contact the higher dollar value their signature authority normally is.
Joe: I guess that means I agree with you because my goal is to shorten the sales cycle with those I know. When you need quick sales your existing customers or potential customers you've been working with are where it's probably going to come from. I'm hoping to see some of that on Wednesday when we relaunch our ProofPass.com service. Here's hoping *crosses fingers*
05-31-2011, 09:48 AM
Great blog posts are actually driving sales for me
05-31-2011, 03:21 PM
What tricks have you used to make sales happen?
What tricks have you used to make sales happen?
About a year ago I ran my own web design business (WordPress). I relied heavily on speaking engagements to generate sales. If I had a gig, I generated leads, if I didn't, then I had to market myself some other way to build the client list.
At my previous company, we had lots of inbound leads -- the company had been around for 4-5 years so they were established.
Being on my own, I had to find a way to generate a list of interested prospects fast! So I started hosting Free Intro to WordPress webinars weekly. I had anywhere between 15 to as many as 30 people per webinar.
I taught them How & Why business are using WordPress citing specific examples showing success. And I showed them enough to get started. At the end of the webinar I generated two camps:
1.) some people went off and figured out the rest on their own but still, they promoted me and got the word out,
2.) some people learned enough to want to get started but didn't want to do it themselves, they'd rather pay me to do it for them.
In short, I took the "give to get" approach with the webinars. I shared enough information everyone wanted to learn more about and got people interested enough to want to work with me.
06-01-2011, 08:34 AM
I've been struggling with how to promote myself to spur sales for my Clinical Nutrition/Food as Medicine practice because of some of the points Sally hit on in her talk. I do not want to spur immediate sales at the expense of turning away future clients...so a lot of traditional marketing in my profession is out. I also am staying away from traditional print media as most of you would agree, but i'm finding some of the online venues/directory listings to not be worth the money So it's been coming to blog articles, hosting live health discussions in the community (not your traditional "lecture"), and connecting with others in the health community locally. It all seems to be "long-tail" to me, but I think you could argue that anything is long-tail, when push comes to shove if you don't have people in your door, something isn't working. Knowing when to change it up, and when to wait it out is tough when the ROI is not clear and the bills need paid. Any insight?
Jumping in here late - but in the past, the best things that have helped me spur on sales has been a phone call to each and every customer I've done business with - Asking how they were doing, and then letting them know we have some open capacity to fill. Often, good clients came up with small projects that had been in the backs of their minds, and often they would think of someone they were recently talking to that could use our services. This tactic had always saved the day when faced with the predictable "rough month" :)
06-01-2011, 09:58 PM
I agree with @JimRaffel --- Pick up the phone early, late, and often and have some business conversations with prospects... PLUS listen more intently to existing customers to find other needs
06-02-2011, 04:07 PM
I need this thread! Thanks! On picking up the phone: how do you do this if it's scary? For me, spanish is not my first language....and that's the language I need to use. Scares me to death. I freeze up. Even if I write down what I need to say....it just....feels awful. But direct contact is needed. One thing I've been doing, and it's long tail - so maybe not too relevant to - how do I beef up sales now - but I've been working on getting into online spaces where my potential clients hang out. (LinkedIn has been amazing.) I join groups where I know they hang out, and try to participate in or start meaningful conversations in the groups. I'm not actively selling..just as was mentioned before - I'm trying to come with a 'How can I help you today' approach. It's been generating some leads (sign ups to our weekly newsletter where we provide practical help, and where we also talk about our products. (English courses for business professionals.)
But boy, would I like to learn how to be a better 'telephone picker-upper.' How have you all gotten better at that?
Aaron: Picking up the phone is still scary for me, especially if I don't have a strong relationship already built. The only way to get over your fear is to just start. Pick up that phone, dial the number. Talk. Make it routine. After a few weeks, it should start feeling natural.
06-02-2011, 10:14 PM
Brew: wow! Natural! I can't imagine what that would be like. But I think you're right. It's weird how nasty hard it is to break away from my comfort zone of email/twitter/FB/LinkedIn. Cold calling....*shudders* Thanks for your comment. I sure hope I become a natural!
06-02-2011, 10:51 PM
My two cents about the PHONE thing: 1st, you need to get your HEAD straight... Then, finetune your approach
HEAD: Lose the phrase "cold calling" -- YIKES -- a root canal sounds more pleasant. You're hunting down new opportunities (almost sounds like a game). Belief is HUGE... Believe that YOU HAVE SOMETHING OF VALUE TO OFFER... Business people are paid to make smart decisions --- you're actually helping them do their job.
[SORRY, I'm a sales trainer, so I'm pretty passionate about this stuff ;) ]
APPROACH: HELP, DON'T SELL (at least not yet)... Need to make it more about the buyer and less about you, the seller. Go look at their website for starters and see if you can find a conversation starter... for example: "I noticed you're opening a new office in Topeka next August... how will you be handling (INSERT NEED HERE)? We've helped hundreds of customers to [INSERT STRONG BENEFITS]..."
ALSO, check out "Smart Calling" by Art Sobczak -- great book -- More tips on Art's website: http://www.businessbyphone.com/
REMEMBER: If you're calling them, 9 times out of 10, they will NOT be in Shopping Stage... so if they're not shopping, stop selling and feature puking... And start asking smart questions to learn more about their problems. Your mission in a cold call is to find and grow dissatisfaction. Do this well, and the rest is cake.
Didn't mean to get on my soapbox -- but you hit one of my hot buttons ;)
Hope this helps!
06-02-2011, 11:16 PM
Donna, these are great tips! thank you, I love them!
06-02-2011, 11:47 PM
@arinehartdc Hi Arine, you can get to know someone in your market already. If you still want to generate leads talk to JoLynne at MusingsofaHousewife, she has a strong holistic approach to food and has gathered quite a following. *IF* you have an informative website, you may get lots of leads from her if she featured you on her site. You'll need a website, you'll need to follow her on twitter and offer to write a post for her. Or offer your services and ask her to write a review of them. Once that is published you have WORK to do - you need to follow and answer every single tweet. You need to get your name out there. Her followers would serve you well. She's from Philly. Tell her I sent you. (Cathy Tibbles)
06-02-2011, 11:48 PM
To generate sales, or whenever I have a spare moment, I go through my client list, starting at ones that we completed a few months back and check in with them. A simple, how are you? Will generate questions and comments, and "Oh, I've been meaning to have you... "
06-02-2011, 11:49 PM
@ChrisReimer Absolutely!! Good posts, followed by good social marketing. Followed by conversation. Followed by good relationships is just good business! :)
06-03-2011, 10:48 AM
When I'm in a panic for sales I'll maybe try and get myself invited to be a speaker at a networking function... Costs nothing and a whole room full of people get to hear the message. :-)
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