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Archive for “Get More Sales”

Got Profits? American Roads’ CEO Shares Success Secrets

Today, we find out the scoop on running a successful, small business from Neal Belitsky, the CEO of American Roads, LLC, www.americanroads.com. His company has remained profitable during tough, economic times. Here’s what Neal had to say about this: Tell us about American Roads and how you became involved in this business. American Roads is [...]

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Read up, and start getting referrals

Among the many “experts” out there touting “the way” to success, there are a lot of fly-by-nights, lightweights and hucksters. But I must say, John Jantsch is among those who offer true substance and real value and merit our follows. And here’s the reason why: He’s practical. In his new book, The Referral Engine, John provides specific rationale, [...]

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The Big Marketing Mistake Business Owners Make and How to Avoid it

Have you ever had this happen to you? Several years ago, I attended a business networking function and I just happened to strike up a conversation with a person who sold cars for a local Chevrolet dealership.

And as luck would have it, I was in the market for a new car and was especially looking for a Chevrolet Trailblazer.    I really liked the person that I was speaking with and told them that I was in the market for a Chevy and asked if they would contact me.  We exchanged business cards and I looked forward to their call.

A few days passed and I still had not heard from the salesperson.  I was very anxious because I really wanted to buy a Chevy Trailblazer.   So I gave them a call, leaving a voice message on their cell phone and on their office phone.  And then I waited for a return call.  And a few days, I still had not heard from the salesperson and so I gave up.

I decided that if they did not want my business, I would take my business elsewhere, ending up buying my Trailblazer through the car buying service located at my credit union.

I’ve had this happen to me several times, and in each case, the sales person, or business owner has lost thousands of dollars in sales from me all because they did not follow up!

I think many business owners confuse the term “marketing” with the term “selling.”   Marketing is simply the process or strategies that you use to get the word out about your business and gather leads.  Selling is the process of turning those leads into paying customers.

The biggest problem that I see in marketing your business is that you can be the best marketing in the world, but if you don’t convert the leads to clients you have nothing.  And the most important step in converting leads to clients is simply following up with them.

There are many ways to follow up with leads or prospects, here are just three.

1.  Phone:

After you exchange information and agree to follow up, give them a call within 24 hours.  Say something like, “Hey, I said I would follow up with you, and here I am!  I would love to get together with you to learn more about your needs.”  Don’t aim to sell them your product over the phone.  Aim to set an appointment and to build a relationship.  Find out about what they want before you start selling them.

2.  Email:

If the thought of making a phone call gives you hives, then you could also follow up by email.  The benefit to that of course is that you can do it at any time, and they can answer at their convenience.  If you don’t hear back from them though, go back to step one.

3.  Snail Mail:

Yes, snail mail still exists, and believe it or not people enjoy getting old fashioned cards and letters.  If you’re just not sure about the person, or if you want to send them some additional information, sending a letter via regular mail is a good option.  However, if the contact had indicated that they were interested in your product because they are looking to buy one in the near future, do not use snail mail. Give them a call first, within 24 hours is best.

The lack of following up is the biggest mistake small business owners make and it costs them thousands, if not millions.  Don’t let this happen to you.  Follow up with people right away.  I guarantee your sales will soar!

Note:  This is an excerpt from my upcoming book “How to Build Buzz for Your Biz:  Tap into the Power of Social Media, Publicity, and Relationship Marketing to Grow Your Business.”

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Have you ever had this happen to you? Several years ago, I attended a business networking function and I just happened to strike up a conversation with a person who sold cars for a local Chevrolet dealership. And as luck would have it, I was in the market for a new car and was especially [...]

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Tips to Help Make Your Customer Service Top Notch

Customer service can be a touch situation for many people. Usually when people call these numbers it is because they either have a problem that needs fixed, they are angry or both. Having quality representatives who can handle varied situations can really make the difference. Less Reps Quantity isn’t always quality—especially when it comes to [...]

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Do You Need a Media Kit and What is it?

Ok. You’ve probably heard that you need a media kit but aren’t sure why or what goes in it. Well, as part of our “7 Steps to Successful Public Relations,” here’s the information you need to know.  What is a Media Kit? A media kit is a package of information that allows reporters to get [...]

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Get on the Google Rocketship!

This is the second time this year (so far) that I’ve done a shameless plug for a product offered here at StartupNation. But when I believe in something so strongly — in its value and transformative power to set businesses on a more successful path — I just can’t help it! This one’s called Google [...]

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Why Dell Beats the Hell Out of Threadless

First, they correctly targeted their customer and simply provided them with useful information.  Next, they implemented systems to monitor, measure, and manage customer service interactions.
(Great tips for handling customer service here.) These are great starting points and should serve as the foundation for any small business looking to incorporate social media in their marketing efforts.

While those are great steps for getting started in social media, it’s important that companies don’t stop there.  The real key to your success lies in your ability to actively engage that target demographic.  I urge you to roll up your sleeves a little and try some new strategies this year to finally get some ROI from social media.  To get you started, I’ve brainstormed a couple ideas below.

  • Include a playful and creative flyer in outgoing packages encouraging participation and possibly offering a reward… “Be a sweetie! (attach some candy to the card) Post a pic of you wearing this t-shirt on our Fan Page and we’ll send you a $5 gift card.”
  • Create a survey on Facebook or poll on Twitter (twtpoll) asking “friends” to vote on which new products to sell/create…the winning product will be offered to survey participants first, and at a discount. (See how Modcloth does this here)
  • Track down recent customers on Facebook and “friend” them with your companies Facebook page (who doesn’t want more “friends”?)
  • Spend money to make money…hire a Community Manager that will actually have the time to effectively target and engage new customers and strengthen your online branding. (Not sure what a Community Manager does? Read this by Chris Brogan.)

I truly believe social media is the future for small business marketing and I hope you can find at least one of these ideas helpful in your efforts to engage online.  Always be on the lookout for innovative new ideas to reach your customers and don’t be shy.  A sincere, heartfelt, and playful “hello” to your customers will be appreciated more times than not.  Just make sure you have the infrastructure in place to monitor, measure, and manage all those new customer interactions.

Need help with your social media campaign? Contact me directly here!

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I apologize for the outlandish headline, but I don’t really think it’s any more outlandish than crowning Threadless as the sales guru of Twitter.  I’m sure you’ve read some recent press in the media bragging about Threadless being the company to emulate when it comes to monetizing on Twitter. (Read one article from Inc here) [...]

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7 Ways to Juice Your Holiday eCommerce Sales

It’s the holiday shopping season. If you run an eCommerce website, you need to do everything possible to increase and maximize your sales during this busy shopping period. To that end, here are 7 ways to juice your holiday eCommerce sales to drive your revenue and profits to new heights before the New Year. 1. [...]

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Who’s On Your Team?

If you are trying to save money and start the New Year off right, there may be a secret problem lurking in your business. With the stress of trying to balance a budget, pay bills, obtain new customers, and have a life outside of the office, it can be easy to overlook one key element [...]

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More Advice on ABC News Now

During my recent appearance on ABC News Now, I was lucky enough to be asked to provide some advice to fellow entrepreneurs who are growing businesses built around their passions. Click here or on the image below to view that advice. Let me know if you have a cool story you’d like to share with ABC News [...]

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ABC News Now Highlights 2009 Home-Based 100 Winners!

Excited to share the news: ABC News Now’s Tory Johnson just highlighted select winners from the 2009 StartupNation Home-Based 100. Click on the image here to view the interview or select “Play ABC Video.” I was able to mention these winners in the quick interview: Haralee Weintraub’s Haralee.com Joe Hansen and Cristy Stewart-Harfmann’s PricelessProfiles.com, and [...]

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Are You Promoting Yourself?

In the process of promoting your products and services to potential customers, are you also promoting yourself?   Competition is fierce today, and people want more for their money. This means that they are not just looking at products and services – but the people behind the businesses as well.   With this in mind, [...]

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Why you should pay for this content

Weird that I’d write a blog post about paying for content in a free content world, isn’t it?! Weirder yet that StartupNation has for years on end been a STRICTLY free content site and hosts many tens of thousands of pages of free content and features. So why have we recently launched a paid content [...]

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Exceed Expectations to Boost Sales

If you want to increase your level of returning customers, there is one major thing that you need to take care of at the very beginning of every relationship – Expectations. This may sound simple, but if you don’t spell out what you are going to provide for the money, you can run into major [...]

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Secrets to Accelerating Your Business Success

As a business owner, I love being my company’s “evangelist.” I get huge kicks from educating and exciting people about becoming a customer. But frankly, there’s an even more important—though arguably less exhilarating—aspect to closing new business. We call it, the art of follow up.   My feelings about this were confirmed and further fueled [...]

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Startled by the Media?

As Halloween approaches, you’ll see spooky ghosts, goblins and monsters everywhere. But for many of us, the real scare comes from talking to media members. If picking up the phone to pitch a reporter gives you the chills, here are three simple tips to make the experience less frightful: 1. Prepare. Before calling a reporter, know [...]

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