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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How to Sell to Customers in the SMB and Non Profit world

How to Sell to Customers
Welcome to the wonderful world of the sales profession and trust me it’s a profession and not just a job. It is a world of constant change, learning and new ways to sell your product or service. SMB and non-profits usually have sales people that need to have a more formal approach to selling. Not every company has a real SALES COACH or on-going training on premise to help. Here are 8 ways to improve your sales efforts:
1        Network
People do business with people they know and trust. It’s that simple. Meet new people and look for ways that you can help them.

Be a niche Player 
Be an expert in specific area or use your greatest strength in helping others

Price is what you pay and value is what you get. Sell value

What’s In It For Them
Answer the questions Why would someone purchase or need your product or service?
What will they gain?

Be Authentic
People like doing people with those that love their job and are honestly interested in their customers.  People buy from people and from those they like.

Reat your Customers like you want to be Treated
This is very important in my worldPut yourself in your customer’s shoes. Treat your customers like you would want to be treated. See the world from their eyes.

Market better
There are many different solutions to marketing and some work better than others. Try different methods and ensure that your doing various cross channel and multi-channel campaigns.

CRM can be your Friend
The Palm Pilot PDA from 1994 was replaced with better customer relationship manager (CRM) tools. If you want to give someone a call and can’t remember what you spoke about last time, a CRM tool is invaluable. 

What do Business Travelers want the most?

What do Business Travelers want the most?


The most annoying thing a tired business traveler has to deal with is those hotels who think that after spending $179 on a room you need to fork out another $15 bucks for it. Even better if you spend $600 a night in New York and have to pay extra. Those charges made sense back in 2000 when they had to invest in a closet full of DSLAM equipment and internet access was expensive but today the cost is super low. In fact I feel partly to blame. Way back in 2000 I did sell a hotel the dslam gear, cabling and even voice mail and explained how they can charge $17.95 a night and recoup their investment and make a fast 6 month ROI. 7 years later I am staying in that same hotel fuming at having to pay those charges. What is 300 rooms times $17.95 a night times 240 weekday nights? ooops $1.3M in revenue What is the loss of 60 rooms a night due to hefty Wi-Fi charges $2.7M? Maybe free internet starts to make sense.

Now if the Hotel really feels that they have the right to charge then at least offer a real high speed service with real bandwidth so we can use our video apps with no jitter and Skype with latency free service. Some hotels are actually advertising the 30x speeds. The latest tactic is to offer enhanced internet access with access to corporate vpn and faster speeds to support video streaming. Many business travelers actually need those features and have to pay extra.

Business travelers make up a big segment of a hotel's business revenue so it’s important to listen to their needs. Every traveler wants a comfortable bed, good lighting, a large desk and reliable high speed internet access. Health conscious travelers are also asking for healthy dining options and workout rooms. Many hotels when they do a refresh take into account most of those needs.

However, recent stays have identified the need for more electrical outlets. I don’t want to travel with a Monster power bar so I can charge my Playbook, my Laptop, cellphone, my iPad, my Nexus maybe a camera battery, maybe other stuff. It’s always the same single outlet embedded in the desk light and the closest outlet beside the alarm clock. Now we know why maids haul a 50 foot extension cord around with their vacuum cleaner. Maybe a high speed internet bundle with a power bar rental, free long distance and a bottle of water starts to make sense for 99 cents.

Now the negative aspect of all this you will forget your power adaptors and power bar and leave them behind. Every hotel has tons in the lost and found. I use a bright red elastic tie that I got with my Think Tank cable manager and it helps give me a visual but i can also wrap it to my laptop so it doesn’t get forgotten. One clever road warrior showed me how he takes the conference badge lanyard and ties the adapter and laptop together so he does not forget to take it with him.

Business travelers can be loyal and repeater customers if Hotels think a little bit about the customer experience and put themselves in their customer’s shoes.

Hoteliers that take time off from their C suite office and actually stay in one of their properties like the "Hidden Boss" reality show will be surprised in how they can improve the customer experience and improve their revenues.

5 Easy Steps to Direct Marketing for SMB and Non Profits

I have been busy helping some organisations and non profits with better selling and better marketing skills and a frequent topic came up. Does Junk mail work because we are not getting as much out of social media?

First off its not junk mail unless its marketed as such. A 2 for 1 pizza coupon on a flyer is not junk its cost savings and dinner for a consumer. Tweeting out a promotion is not effective if I am not a follower and cold calling does work for specific products and services. It is all about how the marketing is done and what the call to action to the customer is.

Social Media does work but again it depends on what you are trying to do,

Both can be very effective weapons in winning the hearts, minds and $$$ from our customers.

Direct marketing has been proven to be one of the most effective and inexpensive methods for an organisation to promote or sell its products or services. It allows you to target a specific group of people to generate a specific call to action.

Direct marketing is contacting your potential customer directly and includes direct mail, email marketing, telemarketing or text-message marketing campaigns.

Direct marketing is also helpful in building brand awareness, customer trust, loyalty and repeat business. Done properly, a DM program can also be easy to measure especially when a response code is used.

Here are five basic steps to starting your own direct marketing campaign.

1. Choose a promotion or offer for your specific campaign

Usually, a response is improved when there is a promotion or offer that the consumer can react too. A discount, a sale or a contest creates a sense of urgency to respond in the appropriate time-frame.

2. Run the campaign often

If you are doing a DM with mail or flyers, the average consumer may not react and usually a marketer needs to do 5 or 6 campaigns in order to get a response. Each campaign can refer to the same promotion but done in a different style or method.

A local Telco likes to send me mail, a flyer, a telephone call and even a postcard. They are still selling the same product but trying to get me interested via different marketing methods. Paper based marketing is still effective and even though it may be called junk mail a $5 off coupon on a postcard works for me.

There are new guidelines for email marketing that needs to be understood

3. Have a call to action

When you are developing your campaign for your promotion, make sure you make an offer that will encourage your customers to act immediately. If there is no sense of urgency or time-line then the consumer will not act quickly. A car dealer can promote a lot sale and a BBQ on a weekend and the consumer can respond to obtain a free promotional item or register to get their discount code. Act now, call now, registration must be done today! Hurry before it is too late.

4. Make it Personal

Junk mail is addressed to the address not the person. If you are using a database then address it to the consumer. There are different tricks to use to get people to open their mail and handwritten ones work best. Computer generated forms look just like that so give some thought to how the envelope needs to look to invite a response. There truly may be a reason why some marketing is done on a fridge magnet.

Hello John
As a valued Subaru customer, we would like to invite you to our new model showing. Come in and look at what the new models have to offer and enjoy a complimentary custom frozen yogurt and a chance to win a Samsung Tablet……would get a better response than…

Dear Homeowner
As a valued automobile customer, we would like to invite you to our new model showing. Come in and look at what the new models have to offer and enjoy a complimentary custom frozen yogurt and a chance to win a Samsung Tablet……would get a better response than

5. Evaluate your Responses

Direct marketing allows data to be gathered for later analysis to see what worked and what didn't. The more data you collect and analyze, the more you will learn about your consumer behaviour. The more you know, the more successful you will be for your tweaking your next direct marketing campaign.

“Tony, the postcard campaign worked really well in the L4X and M3X postal codes”

Take a look at who the consumers were in that area and what they bought and when to better understand how they reacted to the campaign.

“We sent red postcards to those addresses and not the grey ones, so lets do another run with red postcards to the postal codes that didn’t react…ok?”

Marketing can be simple and complicated but the best method is to set a budget, develop a story and a call to action and choose the methods of delivery. If effective then you can see your sales or interest activity increase.

There is a lot of activity on multi-channel and cross -channel marketing programs that require staff and $$$ to do effectively.

A simple method could be to generate a response from a postcard mailing that drives traffic to your website where you can then attempt a conversion. Another method could be to sign up for a newsletter or on-going couponing.