Posted on 15 November 2011.
Social media has transformed the way and medium of communication by providing opportunities to have interactive dialogues without the need for physical proximity. This virtual social interaction has become the preferred technique for communication, giving businesses in this field, opportunities to grow and expand while also innovating and improving. Experts believe that social media is now set to achieve critical mass. Critical mass is a crucial stage in the development of a company when the business can become self sustainable. At this point no more capital needs to be invested and the business is economically viable.
Social media as a business has reached that stage when it can achieve critical mass. A business introducing a new technology is said to achieve critical mass when approximately fifteen percent of households adopt it. The same principle can be applied to social media which has the potential to exceed the fifteen percent barrier, if all social media networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and others are included. Newer technologies being included are social gaming, ecommerce and micro-blogging.
Critical mass can be achieved when 15% of a target clientele can be captured. This number has been verified and found to be repeatedly accurate in all applications pertaining to critical mass in social media. The goal all social media networks then is to hit this percentage.
Ways to achieve social media critical mass
- Increase frequency of interaction by creating special groups- One way social media can achieve critical mass is by leveraging the present relationships and networks among members. People who are closer can be made to form a special group which will see more frequent exchanges and communication on diverse topics, experiences and desire to spend time together in the virtual world. Strong relationships thus will be sustained and these will provide the frequency needed to reach the critical mass level. This is because the level of confidence in introducing a product or service in the group is higher in terms of acceptance, and probability of its success becomes higher.
- Focus on value provided to the world- Social media needs to highlight the value it provides to its members, and how they benefit from this ‘service’. As word about the benefits and value spreads the membership figures will surge ahead and competition will increase. The more existing members show off their shared platforms and how they have benefitted from them, more and more people will join.
- Growth and expansion is important- Growth and expansion alone will make room for reaching critical mass levels. The Facebook story is an example that explains this. Facebook reached its full capacity when limited to Harvard, but it was at this point that it opened its doors to other universities and eventually became a worldwide phenomenon. As it grew in size by widening its domain, more members joined, helping it stay at the critical mass level of over 15%. The same holds true for Groupon, which started with daily deals in one city and expanded city by city to achieve its critical mass.
- Quality must be monitored- The bottom line for success is always good quality. Quality content is expected when people join social media, knowing it is safe and reliable. Unique content must be added to keep up member involvement and have them evince interest, since this will invite more content of similar quality.
Thus achieving social media critical mass is a challenge that all networks are striving to achieve.
Posted in Sales Management Tips, Sales Strategy
Posted on 08 November 2011.
In this age of consumerism and abundance of choices for every product, the customer is king. Keeping a customer happy, and having him return with repeat orders, is a necessity for businesses to be sustained. It is here that building relationships with customers come in, since this will help in keeping them involved with the business. This is likely to require an investment of time and effort from the entrepreneur, who will have to extend himself and reach out to his present and potential customers.
Analysis of data collected from various businesses reveals that repeat customers spend over 33% more than first time ones, and more likely to provide referrals than new ones. This is the rationale behind building relationships with customers, which may prove to help in the survival of the business in the highly competitive environment.
Building relationships with customers is easy for extroverts who love meeting people, though introvert entrepreneurs may have to make a conscious effort. Customers are real people with feelings and emotions which can be tapped to establish a bond. Customers are not nameless faces in the crowd or a faceless voice on the phone, but for a business, each customer is a distinct individual who matters.
How to build relationships
- Common courtesy, personalized treatment- Customers being crucial to the survival of a business, deserve the best possible behavior. Being courteous and respectful with sincerity, helps in having them warm up to you, and professional attitudes help you win their respect. This is the first step to thawing the ice.
- Sincere advice and sharing of knowledge- Customers really appreciate sincere advice, and if as a businessman, you are able to display your knowledge and expertise in your field, they are bound to warm up to you. However, staying professional in approach and demeanor is essential.
- Knowing their environment and needs- An entrepreneur needs to understand where his customer comes from, since this helps him understand his perspectives and preferences. Customers also feel special when you know more about them, and this is one more step to converting them into permanent clients.
- Never lose track of a customer – A customer must not disappear into oblivion, rather he must be tracked. A bad experience they may have had, must be remedied, rather then letting them walk away in disgust.
- Join social networks- social media networks are a great way to stay in touch with customers and building relationships. The network is a great way to stay in touch with the latest developments in customers’ lives, and commenting or ‘liking’ their posts will show your interest, which will help the relationship.
- Special offers for an exclusive group of customers- Customers feel rewarded when an exclusive offer is made to them, or only to a select group of permanent ones. This helps in further cementing the relationship.
- Responding fast to queries- A customer’s query, immediately answered builds goodwill and chances of his returning for a purchase increase.
Building customer relationships is the only way to sustain businesses large and small, and is worth every bit of investment of time and effort.
Posted in Sales Strategy
Posted on 21 September 2011.
Many sales people make the mistake of pitching their solutions too early in the sales process. They end up doing a features and benefits dump on their prospects, this has been referred to as “showing up and throwing up”.
The problem with this strategy is:
- A Prospect may not care about all your features, they care about the value that you can add.
- Your benefits may not be benefits from their point of view.
- If a prospect is slightly interested, their focus may be on price rather than value
To avoid these potential problems sales people need to qualify the prospect in every which way and “earn the right” to present solutions. To do that you need to fully understand their buying motives asking pertinent questions to find out what problems (current or future) they may have or what they are trying to gain.
How to earn the right:
- Ask questions so that you understand their needs and then really listen to their answer
- Be consistent and committed, offer solutions that will help them and their business.
- Make it easy for them, email or phone them rather than wait for them to come to you.
- Put their interests first, if you do not get the sale now, they may be a future prospect.
Often the prospect will not be focused on their problems or not realise the potential gains they could be achieving, by using a Consultative Selling approach a sales person will be able to ask questions to focus the prospect and help them discover the impact. When this happens the prospect is often more motivated to be looking at solutions. The sales person now needs to ask the prospect how committed they are to looking at solutions. If the sales person gets an agreement, they have “earned the right” to present a solution and are well positioned to sell on value.
Boost your sales ability with a Consultative Selling approach. Find out more about SalesStar.com Consulative Selling program, click here.
Paul O’Donohue & The Sales STAR Team
Posted in Sales Strategy
Posted on 02 September 2011.
Dare to dream and work to win by Thomas Barrett, goes about explaining what is clearly stated in its subtitle, namely, understanding the dollars and sense of success in network marketing. The book elaborates on the process of creating wealth, personal success and the psychological background to it, and how network marketing can be used for success. Written simply, it is easy to understand and absorb. It also teaches the reader what it means to be an entrepreneur and how to think like one. Life as an entrepreneur is very challenging and requires a specific mind set, which needs to be cultivated.
An international bestseller, available in many languages, Dare to Dream and Work to Win has transformed the lives of hundreds of aspiring entrepreneurs who learnt that the path to success cannot be reached through shortcuts or jumps and starts but through persistence and perseverance, courage and vision, stamina and networking. Success is now largely a function of one’s expertise in network marketing. The right work ethics, principled approach and courage to pursue dreams, hold all aspiring entrepreneurs in good stead. Dreams no matter how bold or even outrageous, can come true if pursued with courage and passion, which also involves hard work and single minded focus on success.
Thus the four fundamental principles elaborated upon in the book include:
- The correct approach- having the right approach towards work and business is important. Work must be enjoyable and spur you forward, since that is the only way to meet new challenges and surge ahead.
- Consistency in actions is the foundation of network marketing. Consistent actions taken cumulatively add up to a big initiative. Barrett insists that it is the small actions completed consistently that help to complete the big picture of a business.
- Duplication is important in network marketing. Keeping things simple makes them easy to be duplicated. Methodical approach and easy to follow steps can be taught to all team members and this will help in increasing and extending the business, which will culminate in wealth creation.
- Sufficient time to devote-this is a prerequisite since everything takes time to grow. Growing a team needed for network marketing is also likely to take time, and therefore one has to be patient. These are things that cannot be done in fast-forward mode or overnight. The author talks about the concept of flight time, which is time at the wheel, and network marketing is no different.
These principle need to be combined with personal qualities like courage, vision and stamina to stay steadfast on the defined goals. Business building requires a definite psychology, and this is explained in the book at length, to benefit not just those in network marketing but also enterprising individuals in other fields as well.
Dare to Dream has been behind the professional success of thousands of readers, who have also additionally found personal success after reading the book and the principles it focuses on. The author is so certain about what he has written and its impact on people that he offers a money back guarantee to all those who are not satisfied with the book.
Posted in belief
Posted on 02 September 2011.
Dog Eat Dog is a marketing masterpiece that must be read by all those related to marketing and those who wish to push their business to higher levels. The author puts forth the secrets behind successful marketing in the twenty first century, which are taken from his own experiences as a highly successful sales professional. Jerry Rossi is widely acknowledged as a marketing whizz who shares secrets to marketing and business success through his workshops and interactive sessions. With over two decades of experience and three thousand presentations, he addresses packed audiences on how to sell their businesses better. Practical tips that can be applied by others, advice that is easy to follow and wisdom to make an impact in the business world, are the features of the book that have made it an international bestseller, that is ideally suited for all small business owners. Though many experts believe that timeless strategies can deliver even in today’s world, the truth is that they have to be modified and adapted as times and situations change.
Rossi refers to big businesses as the big dogs of industry that spend phenomenal amounts on advertising and marketing, a substantial part of which is channelized through ad agencies. Ad agencies use 9 methods to deliver results for their clients, but these kept inside deep cover and there is no way to getting to know them, not from marketing classes or books. The author has placed all these tips in the hands of the readers and explained what will work to promote marketing and what all will not, especially in today’s highly competitive marketplace. The end result will be the ability and the expertise to grow and expand the business as per the requirements of the market and improve the bottom line for the business.
Dog Eat Dog stretches over eleven chapters, each of which is insightful and calls for determined action. The lessons taught are meant to give marketing the necessary push to make it more effective and result oriented. While theories and lessons on marketing remain essentially the same, they have to evolve over time to adapt to changing market situations and the changing interests and preferences of consumers. The availability of a far wider range of products, a smarter, more technically savvy clientele, make these sales strategies outdated, and need to be changed and fine tuned to the new environment that is seen in global markets today. Rossi has highlighted these updated strategies in his book and shown people how businesses can benefit from them, in terms of higher sales, better profits and business growth.
Dog Eat Dog and Vice Versa has been a best seller for years and with tens of thousands of copies sold, it is one of the top twenty most important books worldwide. Experts encourage all newcomers in the marketing world to read this as one of their first books to jump start their sales and marketing careers.
Posted in Sales Strategy
Posted on 09 August 2011.
Facebook is a social networking site with millions of members worldwide and more joining every day. An opportunity to reach out to even a fraction of them would give businesses the perfect opportunity to sell their products. Its reach today extends beyond personal networking to business related relationship building. It offers advantages beyond the cost angle since Facebook membership is free and open to everyone to start pages, have a fan club, form groups and so on.
Why businesses need a Facebook page can hardly be stressed enough, since track records of businesses establish the role of Facebook and an increasing number of members look for Facebook pages of the business that the product they are buying belongs to. Some reasons explaining the rationale behind businesses needing a Facebook page include:
- Similar to a website but visible to more members- A Facebook page is similar to having a website but far more effective since it is visible to Facebook members logging in. Customers are unlikely to visit the business website every day, but will see the Facebook page each time they log in.
- Customers connect- Businesses having a Facebook page will soon have their customers connecting and sharing the page through the “like” button with their friends. This proves to be the best advertisement for the business whose page circulates in their groups and connections.
- Ideal way to share all business related information- A Facebook page is the ideal public page where all the latest news and information can be posted. Content shared on the page reaches customers and prospects immediately and they see it as soon as they log in.
- Increases search engine visibility- Search engines love pages that have regular and frequent updates and give them higher rankings. This perhaps explains the reason why Google loves Facebook.
- A viral marketing tool- Businesses can share valuable content through their Facebook pages which will appear on their fans’ news feed and those who find it interesting will pass it on and share by ‘liking’ it, which will place this link on each of their friends’ news feeds. This leads to a viral effect and within minutes the content has spread across borders to thousands of people.
- For customer surveys- Businesses can use the ‘Questions’ tool to ask their fans anything and use it for surveys by posting questions and getting candid replies. Customers love to feel that their opinion matters and this makes them more loyal.
- Event promotion- Facebook allows its members including businesses to create an event and ask people who will be attending it-this helps to gather a much larger presence for an exhibition or sale than would otherwise be humanly possible.
The list of benefits of Facebook is long but businesses need to know that Facebook is the second most visited internet site has over 500 million active users, and half of them log in at least once a day. This makes the chances of the business becoming highly conspicuous very high, and success with customers will logically follow.
Posted in Sales Strategy
Posted on 03 August 2011.
A virtual market place exists on the internet with thousands if not millions of prospective customers being wooed by numerous businesses. Twitter is one of the various social media options available to businesses to communicate with their prospects. Engaging them in the business and what it can offer is one way of persuading them to buy. Twitter is a micro blogging social network site that has millions of members and helps to update people about latest developments, small details and big time plans, with the idea of establishing and maintaining a rapport with hundreds of people. The micro blogging feature ensures that the posts are short, crisp and precise, and yet managing to create the desired effect.
- Twitter is free and more effective as a communication channel- Businesses initially used advertising features on search engines like yahoo and Google to increase their brand awareness. However the potential of being proactive through Twitter holds far more appeal and chances of success since it is possible to engage people individually and personally. It is the ideal medium to send out meaningful messages targeted to increase sales but with empathy and sincerity though effective communication.
- Tweet to understand customer needs- Businesses can use tweets to elicit a response from customers about their needs and issues that they would like addressed. A product that targets specific needs has a higher chance of success than others.
- Twitter to release information on new launches- Instead of spending millions on advertising, Twitter is the best medium to communicate with prospects about new products on the anvil, some innovations and new additions.
- Twitter for promotional discounts- Discounts and special offers and other promotional rebates can all be communicated to prospects through Twitter.
- Twitter to influence and engage prospects- Twitter is the perfect medium to provide appropriate information that can influence prospects and keep them engaged while ensuring they are not overburdened with information.
- Twitter to connect- As a resource available to businesses Twitter is useful to connect with people, follow them and have regular conversations and interaction. For prospective and new customers this is especially useful since it helps to build relationships and raise the comfort level to build mutual trust.
- Diligence through Twitter- As a prospect becomes a client, his Twitter account is a great way to check his credibility and reputation. Conducting due diligence helps in preventing fraudulent deals and ending up with a bad customer.
- Twitter for more prospects- As existing prospects become customers, their network connections can be tapped to add to new prospects and pursue them as future customers. This places a vast network of people at the disposal of businesses to tap and explore for expanding clientele.
- Twitter for feedback- This offers the perfect platform to get an earnest feedback from prospects about how they rate the products offered by a business, whether or not they will buy, and how to make it more attractive for them.
Twitter is a safe communication medium that can reach prospects both far and near. Not using Twitter is a big sales and marketing mistake due to the loss of opportunities it provides to all types of businesses.
Posted in Sales Strategy
Posted on 19 July 2011.
Email marketing is a direct marketing tool that uses emails to communicate messages, news and information about products and services. It has now emerged as one of the most cost effective marketing methods that helps to increase sales and revenue for businesses by creating an online presence and constantly reminding the target clientele about it. It works and yields positive sales results since it enables proactive customer interaction rather than waiting for customers to find the business, brand and products.
Tips to increase sales through email marketing
- Brand building through emails- Use emails to customers to highlight your brand, its strong benefits and efficiency along with sales figures to reveal how it popular it is. People like to buy products endorsed and tried by others.
- Merge social media and email marketing- social media is highly successful in establishing a network of contacts, which can be used for email marketing to extend the reach of products and services.
- Use opt-in email marketing- sending emails to only those who agree to accepting them is called opt-in. they may sign up for emails when they visit your website or at a point-of-sale. This helps businesses in list building that includes some of the most targeted clients with the highest probability of buying products when contacted.
- A landing page- an email sent to clients with a call to action and giving them the option of clicking to buy in the email itself is the quickest way to mange a sale. This becomes possible by specially designing a landing page for the email exercise.
- Coupon, promotions and new product launches- email marketing will help in pushing sales higher when it is used to dispatch discount coupons, special offers and promotional rebates on new products being launched. Customers jump at discounts and are willing to use them immediately.
- Mobile friendly emails- most people use smart phones, and if the emails are synchronized for all types of receiving gadgets from computers, to tablets and smart phones, they are more legible and appealing. Offers of coupons with barcodes that can be scanned from smart phones have shown fantastic success rates since they save the hassle of printing out vouchers.
- The right timing- this is important since customers respond positively to such emails when they are relatively free, perhaps a Friday or a weekend. They are more likely to take notice and affirmative action like ordering the product at such a time, rather than when they are busy with a list of other jobs.
- Short, crisp but impressive content- emails that are short and to the point, crisp and impressive in style and content catch the reader’s attention sooner than long emails with not much substance. Email marketing is highly successful with good content and more likely to have customers agree to the suggested call to action to buy.
- Emails must be connected- email marketing is a direct method of connecting to customers, and a dialogue and personalized interaction must be a continuous, on-going process, rather than a random shot in the dark.
Email marketing has proved to be a highly successful tool in increasing sales through direct interaction with the end customer, and since the costs involved are low, it is worthwhile to initiate this internet marketing initiative.
Posted in Sales Management Tips, Sales Strategy, Sales Tips