Customer Loyalty: 5 Tips for Sales Reps

While most sales representatives know how to close a sale, a large number don’t know how to keep their customers coming back for more.

Larry Caretsky, CEO of the customer relationship management software provider Commence, said that salespeople too often forget about the importance of the post-sale follow up.

“Neglecting this vital step may mean that your business is so focused on sales numbers that you have not extended the sales efforts towards repeat sales, customer referrals or building brand recognition,” Caretsky told Business News Daily.

To help those in the sales industry avoid such mistakes, Caretsky offers five tips on how to proactively build sales relationships and generate customer satisfaction:

  • Build relationships: The goal is bigger than just closing the sale and moving on to the next one. Sales representatives need to establish a positive two-way business relationship with customers in order to encourage future business transactions. Keep the long-term view in mind during every negotiation or sales pitch. The “end” doesn’t really come when you close a deal. Instead, the relationship should evolve into one of trust — the relationship should provide a return on investment for the customer.
  • Follow up: This is the call made after the transaction or deal is done. For IT services consultants, it could be the call after the cloud and firewall solutions are fully implemented in the data center. For a car dealer, it’s the call made the day after a buyer leaves the showroom. This call is important for establishing trust. It requires minimal effort, but could result in future sales with the customer.
  • Do the unexpected: Call customers when they least expect it, just to see how they’re doing. Whether the sale is big or small, communicating with customers periodically will help build the relationship and open the door to new opportunities and increased sales.
  • Look for other opportunities: Remember, every company has one entry door but multiple windows. When clients are satisfied, sales representatives should ask them about other departments that might need that same product or service. Also ask if they can provide an introduction. If they are not satisfied, then offer a path to resolution.
  • Continue the loop: If a contact does not have short-term needs for a product or service, don’t just end the call. Ask about any changes happening within the organization or the industry. This may provide sales representatives with valuable insight about the potential for add-on sales, or about what may be required for customer retention. It also shows the rep is interested in learning about the challenges customers face going forward.

Caretsky said savvy salespeople use the follow-up call and other proactive techniques to ensure the close of the sale isn’t the close of a relationship.

“They understand that sales success is related to building a sound relationship through guaranteeing satisfaction and engaging the customer frequently,” he said.

Top Four Marketing Secrets of Building a Professional Practice

Building a coaching or consulting practice can be rewarding and lucrative. Sadly, many who get started on this path simply can’t make it. Almost daily I talk to people who give up on their dream of “solopreneurship” and, resentfully, join the ranks of job seekers.

What disturbs me the most is that many of them are talented and skilled professionals; real experts in their field. With just a bit of marketing know-how they may have been able to generate healthy six-figure incomes doing the work they love.

Instead, they spend tons of money getting more certifications. They are becoming “master technicians” mistakenly thinking that alone will get them clients. But that’s not how it works at all!

Let’s take the coaching profession for example. You see, prospective clients don’t even know the difference between ICF, CTI, Hudson, Adler, CoachVille or any other certification. They have no clue what CPC, MCC or other letters you might be putting behind your last name mean – nor do they care! What they care about is results – what benefits they’ll receive.

There’s a lot of talk in the coaching community right now about certifications, and while I agree it is important, it doesn’t matter one bit if you don’t have clients! Plus, you can be the most educated, certified, qualified, and professional coach out there and still struggle to stay busy.

You might think that’s common sense, right? WRONG! I see coaches drop thousands of dollars in a blink of an eye to get another certification and agonize for months over a hundred dollars investment in a marketing course!

The good news, unlike getting certified, learning a few simple marketing strategies doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars. And it can make all the difference in the world. As a matter of fact, here are my top four “practice marketing secrets” absolutely free.

Marketing Secret #1 – Know Your “Ideal” Client

It’s critical that you know who they are, what their biggest problems are, how they make decisions, what they like to spend money on, where they hang out, etc. The “narrower” you describe your ideal clients and the more you know about them the easier it becomes to get your marketing message across.

Marketing Secret #2 – Become An Expert

And I don’t just mean be good at what you do. Heck, you should do that anyway! I mean position yourself as an expert in a specific area.

For example, you might be work with C-level executives in the insurance industry, or teach sales skills to realtors, or do turn-around consulting in manufacturing, or help working young mothers achieve life balance, or become a dating guru. Whatever makes you tick – just focus on one thing!

Marketing Secret #3 – Use Multi-Step Marketing

This is where I see so many professionals completely blow it. If a potential client doesn’t sign up for your services what do you do? Forget about them? I hope not! You work hard to get new leads and meet potential prospects so why give up on them? Many people simply feel uncomfortable doing business with someone they don’t know too well.

You should have a systematic way of keeping up with them – for years, if that’s what it takes. Let them get to know you, your company, and your services. You never know when their situation might change and they might be ready to sign up.

Marketing Secret #4 – Get Help

Just like your clients need your help, don’t be afraid to get help in the area of business and marketing. One of the most idiotic things I hear from professionals is “I should be able to do this myself.” Have you ever seen a brain surgeon operate on his own brain tumor. After all – he should be able to do it himself, right?

About 4 years ago I was struggling with closing sales and was really frustrated to see my potential clients hire other experts even though I was a lot more qualified to help them. I got the help of a successful sales coach. His advice not only quickly produced results to pay his fee but it also allowed me to make trips to my bank a lot more often.

There you have it – those are my top four secret marketing tips. OK, so maybe they are not so secret after all. In that case – I’m sure you are already happily working with all the clients you can possibly handle 😉


Taking People-Based Marketing Offline

People-based marketing has been called the “biggest shift in marketing since digital” by Suneet Bhatt, the chief marketing officer of LiveIntent. People-based marketing allows you to shift your marketing target away from generalized data about a group and more toward the individuals in that group so you can provide the right message at the right time to the right person to cultivate the customer relationship and encourage the buying decision.

What Is People-Based Marketing?

People-based marketing is just what it sounds like. Coined by Facebook in 2014 with the release of its Atlas product, people-based marketing follows an individual ID across multiple platforms and devices online to give you information about your customer and begin to understand them in a holistic way.

Since its introduction by Facebook, many companies are beginning to target people-based methods. You may already be working with some, like LinkedIn, Google, Salesforce, or Oracle.

Taking People-Based Marketing Offline

This revolution in digital technology has been a key component to salespeople as long as there has been something to sell. Developing personal relationships with your customer base is essential to creating and maintaining loyalty in your customers.

Scaling that kind of customer relationship has always been difficult. New technologies online allow you to tailor your communications along the buyer’s journey to help your business relationships.

But offline, you can tailor your communications to your client base also. With the millennial generation, who don’t trust online advertising (over 90% don’t find online ads credible), personal contact is even more important than it’s ever been before.

To take your people-based marketing offline try these tips:

* Be where your customers are. Whether your customers are at the local beer festival or the library, find a way to be at the same destinations. Get a booth at the festival, sponsor a reading corner in the library, or find your own creative way to meet the people you want to serve.

* Support your customers’ passions. Nothing starts a relationship off on the right foot better than supporting someone’s passion. Sponsor a local bike race or take part in a cancer research fund-raising walk. What do you love? Your customers are likely passionate about the same things.

* Become a trusted source. Trust is a cornerstone of any relationship. When you are putting out information on the internet or giving away pamphlets, make sure that your messages aren’t all about selling your product. The majority of the information you give away should help your customers. When they trust you to provide quality, helpful information, they’ll also trust you to provide a great service or product.

* Stay in front of your customers’ eyes. Be there when they need you. Find a way to stay in their minds so that when they need your service or product, your brand will be the first one they think of.

Get Your Arms Around Content Marketing

Back in the day, business owners and executives designed marketing messages for their products and services that, like a megaphone, were directed outward toward target customers and cast a wide net. The usual marketing media were print, radio and television.

Traditional marketing activities are still employed, but they’ve been joined by a more personalized strategy known as content marketing. Neil Patel, CEO of KISSmetrics, defines content marketing as “… the way for a business owner to educate customers and potential customers about your products and services. The goal is to offer tips, help and education about anything that can be useful to the customer. This kind of information can be shared in the form of a blog, white paper, webinar, video. or social post… ”

Content marketing directs inward and engages customers on a granular level. Solopreneurs and organization leaders can reveal a deep understanding of customer priorities and challenges, build trust and credibility and demonstrate how customers might benefit from using their products and services.

Michael Brenner, a Forbes Magazine Top 40 Social Media Marketer and head of strategy at NewsCred, points out that “Small businesses don’t have the luxury of massive ad budgets… They need to drive brand awareness and (sales) leads with limited resources. Content marketing is a great way for small businesses to do both.”

Great. How can early-stage entrepreneurs, small business owners and Solopreneurs get started with content marketing? First, identify the content that your customers will value and present it in a way that will lead them to your message. Consider your customer’s viewpoint about the reasons that they use your products or services: what are they trying to achieve and what information might they appreciate? Speak (and listen) to your customers about their business goals and challenges and get a better handle on where your products or services fit in.

Shelly Kramer, founder and CEO of V3 Integrated Marketing, advises marketers to “Tie your overall business goals and objectives into your content marketing strategy” and to incorporate content marketing into social media. “Social and content have to work together in order for you to be successful… You can’t have success with content without a robust presence in the social media space… Understand the role that fresh, relevant content and social media channels play. There is great content being published on corporate blogs on a daily basis that no one ever sees.”

Next, choose your delivery platforms. Do customers visit your website often? Then posting a white paper once a month or writing a weekly blog could work for you. Are customers part of your LinkedIn group or Facebook fan page, or do they follow your business on Twitter? Add those icons to your email signature block and website, to create social media connections that alert customers to your content.

Along with fresh and relevant, volume, value and variety are your other guide posts. Brenner says “(Volume)… starts with this notion that you need to be present in our always on, always connected world. The second thing is value. Your content has to be good. I always recommend that brands identify what they want to talk about and then make every effort to produce as much valuable content around those topics as often as possible. The final tip is about variety. Customers (and search engines) reward brands that deliver value in multiple ways, so think about text-based articles, videos, SlideShare presentations, case studies and all the information we consume across the digital, social and mobile web.”

Finally, measure your content marketing ROI and monitor its impact. Patel offers three metrics: 1. Track content views; 2. Use Google Analytics (free) to track which types of content drives visits to your website; and 3. Measure your search traffic. “You have to give it time. Don’t expect great results in three months or six months, but you will see traction. Within the first three months you should see more traffic to your site. Within a year you should start to see good results and an opportunity to monetize traffic on your site.”

Patel concludes, “Good content marketing builds trust. If someone trusts you, they are more likely to buy your products and services and more likely to tell their friends and family.”

Tips on Marketing a Small Business

arketing strategies come in many forms and are meant to increase sales. But although the strategies are many, small businesses find that they are a bit tied and restricted to work with some of the best strategies because of their tight and limited budgets. Small business owners should therefore sit down and take time to critically analyze the markets to make sure that they come up with an effective strategy.

Working on a tight budget is no reason to lose hope on marketing your small business since there are cheap and effective methods of having the best of your business. There are convectional tools as well as new technology ones which can reach a large number of consumers within a short period of time thereby increasing sales.

Using social networks
Small business owners can market their businesses using social networking sites which are advantageous since they easily reach the global audience. Normally, it is free to market your business on such sites and they include MySpace, Face book and Twitter among other. For those who feel there is a need to buy adverts from these sites, they come at low cost which is very affordable. You are then able to choose which geographical locations the ad should be shown. This way, you will manage to market your business to the right target consumers.

Using print media
Most people fear advertising in the media because they think it is very expensive. On the contrary, small business people can manage to advertise and market their businesses in print media through the buying of small ad spaces. This is a very good marketing idea since you manage to reach a large number of people without necessarily having to spend too much on it. Business owners can also have pens, t-shirts, note pads, calendars and other items printed with all contacts and information.

Using the internet
Another way small business owners can easily market their businesses is using the Internet search engines such as Google marketing methods also called AdWords. You as the owner pay a small fee with every click on your ad although the cost depends mostly on the keyword you have used on the advert to attract your potential and target clients. With each click, you are assured that more people are aware that your business exists hence increasing your clientele. This is a very effective way of marketing a business.

Judging an Item By Its Cover – Custom Packaging

After purchasing any product, people are used to throwing away the wrapping package or even destroying it in order to finally enjoy the bought item. Yet, we rarely appreciate the effort made by the companies in customizing these packages. There is absolutely no doubt that some organizations take the appearance of their custom boxes for granted since people tend to care about it barely. However, business companies organizations must note the importance of these wrapping boxes since they result in forming the customer’s first impression about the whole brand.

First of all, a custom box represents part of, if not most of, the company’s identity. So spending a little more time on customizing your box and putting a little more effort to produce a uniqueness out of it, will work out for the best. The client will appreciate the appearance of the package and might not want to throw it or rip it apart, instead, they might want to keep it. On the other hand, when you provide your customers with special and eye-striking boxes, it will show that the purchased item is wrapped in a way that is very safe and taken care of which prevents it from being broken or damaged. Plus, aside from forming a good first impression about your company, a unique custom box will help you promote your brand because nowadays people share the smallest details about everything that they buy. So with that being said, the client will inform others about all the perks of buying items from your company, including the wrapping boxes.

Secondly, most people argue that wrapping boxes and packaging can be unfriendly towards the environment. What you can do, is help the environment by lowering the use of paper while packaging an item, by using a special custom box as mentioned. By doing so, the buyer will find this box useful for other matters such as packing other stuff in it. Additionally, these boxes will biodegrade easily even if thrown away and not being well recycled, so this is another way of caring about the surrounding. Showing the customers that your company is trying to work for the environment, will certainly boost your public image and reputation. Plus, besides being eco-friendly, you can work on ensuring trust safety for your customers by printing brief contact information about your company. This will show them that you care about customer service if anything goes wrong, and also confirms making them satisfied. Also, make sure to provide people with as many types of packaging boxes as possible. For example, offer boxes designed for special occasions like birthdays, Christmas, etc.

In conclusion, using custom boxes is beneficial in many different ways, from showing your professionalism, to helping your company win the ongoing competition between markets, to satisfying customers, and most importantly, being eco-friendly. Remember that it is impossible to have a second chance to form a first impression, so take the chance of creating and customizing the best boxes to live up to your clients’ expectations. It is known that we should not judge a book by its cover, but work on improving your cover as much as possible, to be judged correctly from the outside as well as from the inside.

Invest in Commercial LED Lights to Boost Sales

LED lights are known for their many benefits to owners of commercial premises and are often used in retail shops, offices and hospitals among others. The reasons for installing these lights may vary from one premise to another but the most common is their durability and visibility. It is common to find the lighting in retail establishments as they are believed to be economical and low maintenance costs.

Apart from the economic value that you get, commercial LED lighting also has the ability to draw attention to merchandise in an establishment resulting in a sale. However, business owners need to select the right type of lighting fixtures that will create an unforgettable experience for customers and eventually boost sales.

If you have been looking for the best LED lights to use in your commercial or retail space, here are some popular options to keep in mind.

  • Motion sensor Lights

To make a sale, a customer must be interested in the product being sold wherever it is displayed in the shop. The best way to do this is through the installation of LED lights that illuminate merchandise whenever they sense motion. In most cases, customers will notice the product and check it out to sample its features or pick it up for purchase.

  • Display Lights

These LED lights are ideal for merchandise that has been displayed on the wall or an elevated platform. When installed overhead, they illuminate the product attracting attention to it whenever customers walk into the store. The lights also make it easier to see merchandise from outside if the store has a window.

  • Tape Lights

Tape lights are ideal for creating a border in a display area, which can be a floor or window. The LED lights selected should be bright and arranged in an attractive manner to attract attention to merchandise on display. When shopping for tape lights, consider buying in string form to enable you make patterns of your choice.

  • Showcase Lights

Showcase lights work best for merchandise that needs to be enhanced from above so as to attract customers. The LED lights are often placed on a post that has an anchor making it possible to adjust them accordingly for different types of products.Overall, the use of lighting in retail spaces has proven to be beneficial for business owners seeking to increase sales as many customers respond positively to great displays courtesy of the lights.

Top 5 Trends To Driving The Future Of Marketing

No doubt, marketers always dive into the future to predict the next big trend that boosts their brand to the next higher level. You should shape your marketing strategies to keep them updated and healthy, so, it can work for your business. It is a little bit complex to understand but not impossible of course. It’s almost the end of the year and it’s high time to focus on your efforts. With this keep in mind, plan something new and big for the upcoming year and these top 5 trends mentioned here helps you in driving the future of marketing.

Mobile Will Hit A New Milestone: Yes, you heard it right, mobile is the new future of marketing that allowed you to expand your business and drive more sales and traffic. So, this year you should also shift your focus from screen to mobile now to touch the new heights in your business.

Content Will Remain King: Needless to say, Content is, was and will remain the king of marketing. It grabs the attention of search engines and visitors as well to your website. In the coming up year, you have to be more focused on the quality content because this is the only thing that takes you to the success.

Customer Experience Still Matters A Lot: No doubt, customers now have more options than ever before and drive them to your website totally depend upon their experience, which still matters a lot. So take a little bit extra pain to provide best and never before customer experience, which holds them to your business for a longer time.

Social Media Becomes The Next Internet: Nowadays, everyone is online and social media platforms now become the integral part of our lives. If you want to get the ball in your court in the coming up year, so, take the help of social media because it will give you the best result than ever.

Brand Must Get Really Personal: Building a professional relationship with the customer is the one thing and understanding their need and do best to fulfill them is another, so, you should focus on it. This year brand must get really personal, so, it can win the loyalty of the customer and give them a reason to get connected with you.

So, what are you waiting for?

Importance of Perseverance In Advertising And Marketing

Have you ever spent time trying to market and advertise only to not see results? You probably feel like giving up or trying a different approach to business success. Before you decide to quit altogether, it’s important to understand why perseverance will serve you well in your business efforts. This article will highlight a few reasons why you should continue in your efforts no matter how tough things get.

#1: You May Not Realize It, But You Are Getting Results

You must always realize as long as one new person is viewing or paying attention to your advertisement or marketing efforts, you are making some kind of progress. Everyone has different expectations as to what progress is. Some want a high volume of sales over a quick period of time and others would like to see it over a longer period of time. But it’s important to step back and keep things in perspective. Remember that any step, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction. As wonderful as it is to see significant results over a short period of time, it may take a lot longer to see those results, but that’s no reason to give up on your marketing and advertising efforts. Keep at it and always keep a positive attitude in the process.

#2: Others Began To Realize Your Perseverance And Start To Buy Into Your Product

A good example of this is using Twitter to promote your business. When you start out, you may only have a few followers after doing your first few posts. After weeks and weeks of posting and staying active on Twitter, your number of followers increases. This is the result of perseverance as your hard-working efforts start to get noticed by others. What is important to remember is that this is a process that place over a long period of time. It’s not a quick fix. As you get more followers, you get more people who are interested in you, and eventually, your product.

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3 Proven Ways to Motivate Your Sales Team

A motivated sales staff is critical to the success of your company. The relationships they build with your clients and customers create the foundation of your organization — not just in terms of individual sales, but also your overall reputation and growth. Lackluster salespeople slowly erode at that foundation, making it harder to hit goals and move into new markets.

There are many different ways to motivate a sales team. Some companies use quota programs with bonuses and other financial rewards. Others go the “fun” route with contests, trips, tickets, dinners and other innovative rewards.  But sales professionals need more than gift cards or event tickets; they want to succeed in their chosen profession by climbing up the ladder.

You also need to keep in mind that not all employees are motivated by the same things. Develop top performers by combining different rewards that will keep all of your staff motivated.

Cold, hard cash is a tried and true motivator. Many sales teams hold weekly, monthly and quarterly contests on both the individual and team levels. You can set the parameters to fit your business, such as the number of widgets sold, the total sales in dollars or the number of new accounts opened.

But here’s the trick: Everyone is used to the system that rewards the top sales performer. Try a system that rewards the individual that tries the hardest. For instance, Dan McGraw, founder and CEO of Fuelzee, said that one of the best ways his company learned about motivation was by rewarding the sales team for “no’s.”

“Every time someone got a no, we tracked it in our system, and the person with the most no’s received a $100 gift card every week,” McGraw said. “This might sound crazy, but you get a lot of no’s when doing sales. The more no’s you get, the closer you are to getting a yes. The prize of getting a yes is way larger than $100, so you still wanted to get there. This nearly doubled our outbound calls and motivated the whole team.”

For some salespeople, the ability to have a little fun during work time is even more of a motivator than money. Common rewards for reaching sales goals or benchmarks include leaving work early, attending a happy hour or maybe giving a trip to reward success over a long period of time.

But fun in small spurts can be just as rewarding. Rick Hanson, a vice president for worldwide sales and field operations with Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Security, said his company uses FantasySalesTeam to award points to “players” (sales reps) for carrying out their daily tasks, like increasing a pipeline or closing a deal. The unique twist is that the reps don’t just compete as individuals, Hanson said; they build teams just as in fantasy football.

“Reps earn points for their FantasySalesTeam based on the performance of their chosen peers and friends, and this creates an environment of encouragement and pressure amongst the players,” he said. “To win the game, they must rely and push on each other to perform. Even more exciting is just how many reps in our sales organization can, and want to, participate.”

Another way to make sales fun is to reward reps with office/desk gadgets and games, said Kevin Baumgart, vice president of sales at Hireology.

“You might not think that a pingpong table for the office would push people and drive behaviors,” Baumgart said. “Try it. From my experience, chair massagers, beanbag chairs, stand-up desk converters, cube art, etc. can all be motivational rewards as well.”

Fun and financial rewards often work, but for some employees, the ultimate reward is the opportunity to get ahead in their careers. Managers should offer incentives that help employees develop skills to move to the next level, including your own time, said Jeff Hoffman, a sales executive, educator and founder of Your Sales MBA.

“Try a sales contest where the prize or a midway bonus is you,” Hoffman wrote on HubSpot. “Work for the leading rep for a few hours, doing whatever they direct you to — calls, demos, presentations, etc. Not only does this motivate your team; it also shows you aren’t afraid to roll up your sleeves and get in the trenches.”

The whole team will see you leading by example, creating an inspirational ripple effect, Hoffman said.

Another reward is lunch with a C-level executive. As Hoffman wrote, “Most sales reps crave one-on-one time with a senior leader to share their thoughts and get an inside look into company strategy.” The chance to impress or relate to an individual on a mentorship level will pay dividends for everyone, Hoffman added.

By offering a variety of rewards, you stand a greater chance of having a motivator for every personality type on your team and developing all of your salespeople into top-tier team players. When your goals and their goals align, only the best things can happen.