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Entries in small business (8)


Small Business Apps

I’m always on the lookout for anything that I think will help out those marketers and small business owners that read my blog. And the other day, I received an email pointing me in the direction of the below infographic featuring some of the best applications for small business owners. So I decided to share it here.


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5 Ways to Scare off Potential Customers

Someone lands on your website, walks into your store, gets you on the phone, or emails you wanting more information on what you’re selling and how it will fill his or her need. What happens next will often mean the different between making a sale and losing one.

Here are five things to avoid if you want to make the sale:

1. Don’t greet them cordially

    The first thing you say or do can have the most impact on how the interaction will go. We all know that first impressions are important. When a customer is in the decision making process, getting treated like crap can be all it takes to make them walk away. Be courteous, enthusiastic, and helpful.

    2. Don’t answer their questions

      Too often the sales process is filled with canned responses and pitches. Learn to listen to what the customer is saying. They will tell you what they’re looking for, and what is important to them. That way you can respond with an answer customized to their questions or concerns. And answer them directly, don’t avoid the question because it’s difficult to answer or may not be what they want to hear.

      3. Don’t give them pricing

        Most people want to know the price right off the bat. In some cases, that’s difficult because pricing is based on options or custom quotes. But always offer at least a ballpark. Don’t avoid giving out pricing information in favor of collecting more information, otherwise you lose a percentage of customers before the conversation even starts. They will think you have something to hide, that the price will be a ‘gotcha’.

        4. Don’t support your pricing

          When you give them pricing, don’t give them pricing alone. Support your pricing with benefits and value. If your prices are higher than competitors, tell them why. Some people will shop on price alone, but most will shop on a combination of price and perceived benefit. Sell the pricing along with the value your product or service will provide.

          5. Don’t follow up

            The sale may not happen during that first interaction. Don’t worry. The key is a good follow up strategy. Keep track of customer interactions. Use email and phone follow up to keep your brand at the top of their mind. Ask them if they need any other information or help making the decision. This will often lead to sales down the road.


            How to Take a Marketing Sales Call

            If you’re a small business owner or marketer, you probably get annoyed at times with salespeople cold calling you to sell you on a new service or tool. In the marketing world, there are many agencies who are eager for new business. Many of them think that they can teach you something that you don’t already know or that they can undercut a service that you’re already using.

            Taking these calls gets tiring. And the immediate response when a new call comes in is to ignore it completely. But I find that more often than not, you can get something out of the call, even if you don’t end up purchasing or signing up for the service.

            Here’s what I recommend:

            1. Take the call
            2. Tell them you’re pressed for time and would like a quicker version of the pitch
            3. Ask them exactly how they will help you specifically, and don’t let them skirt around the question
            4. Make sure they know that you are the decision maker here, they’ll be much more likely to give you anything you ask for
            5. Tell them to follow up with an email describing the product or service
            6. Ask for free trials, info on competitors using the service, a complimentary review of your current practices

            My experience is that you will be able to tell whether or not you’re interested after 5 minutes on the phone. But if they’re willing to give you something for free, like a sample of their services or an industry report, it’s worth taking advantage of.

            In reality, only a small percentage of these calls will be able to offer you something that’s worth your while. But if you ignore them all, the good ones will never make it through.

            At the end of the day, my advice is to take more calls than not and give your business to the people who can identify specific areas and ways that they can make a difference. Then hold them to their promises.