Monday, June 10, 2019

Hire a mechanic

So your car needs work, hire a mechanic.
Now I remember the days when I could do most work on my car, even change a water pump, alternator, starter, spark plugs, etc.  Now those days are mostly gone with computerized this or that and engine compartments so packed it takes special tools to do any work.  So auto mechanics are in high demand with specialized skills.

So it is easy to justify hiring a mechanic, specialized skills, risk of making a costly mistake, and other factors like the value of your own time.  So some light comes on and you find a mechanic to do the work, right?

So why is it that so many businesses resist outsourcing?  Isn't it the same?  You don't question outsourcing your auto repair work to a mechanic, then why do you resist outsourcing business processes that require special tools, skills, and the risk of errors, not to mention your time and the time of your staff that do not have those same skills and experience.

BPO or Business Process Outsourcing is growing for just those reasons.  Call Centers, Help Desks, Data Entry and Coding, as well as higher end processes like HR, Accounting and more.

One trend that doesn't seem to be taking off as much, is Social Media Marketing and Advertising.  I think one reason for that is that so many people are "on Facebook" and therefore think they know  what they are doing, and some do but many have no idea about the various implications or pages, posts, boosts, etc.  They may or may not know about syndication across multiple social media, or how to target ads, or how to make ads that are effective, and all those skills can be found in BPO companies that do Social Media Management, Marketing and Advertising.  

Bottom line, hire a mechanic to do your car maintenance and hire a Social Media Management BPO to do all your Social Media you will be glad you did.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Customer Journey

As I wrote in my last blog, content-content-and-content you should be building credibility and trusted authority with your prospects.

From prospect to customer

Now you can shift your connection dialog to offline and more general approach with your blog or website or social media page.  This  is because your prospect has already been vetted as an "Ideal Client/Customer" and established a bond that will allow you to share more.

Keep in mind that you need to be sensitive and responsive to that connection, but after gaining their trust you can share more and more varied content.

Hopefully that new trusted connection will also appreciate more content marketing materials, especially if it isn't a hard sell, but more informational, market driven, solutions driven content.

Now you are entering the prospect to customer journey.  First you establish the trust,  then go to awareness of your product or service as it fits in the market and solution realm.

Then you direct or aide in search with SEO so when your prospect searches for keywords/phrases related to his problem or need, your product or service will show in the first page.  More on this is future blogs.

If they search and find you and your competitors they will study the features, benefits, and costs and if you have done your market research right, you will begin to shine.

Right after Study they will  read reviews or check references and if those are glowing, they begin the final stage of budget, (aka Risk) and make the purchase decision.

Anyplace along this journey they may ask you questions that may give you additional info on what they are looking for and why and give you an opportunity to provide additional more focused content to assist them along the journey.

Keep your role as trusted adviser, assistant buyer or trusted domain expert and you have a far greater chance at closing a sale.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Contet, content and content

As I said in my last Blog Engage and Build you need to start helping your new connection by sharing meaningful, timely and pertinent content that will allow you to become a resource they count on for credibility, trust and authority.

Content is king
You need to seek their opinion on anything you share with them so you can do a better job giving them what they need.  This will build the "Trusted Authority" on a subject of interest to them.  That will lead to opportunities to make your case and add them as your client/customer.

If you help them solve a problem or fill a need, they will be comfortable coming back to you for help in other things and if you chose that connection because they may be an Ideal Client/Customer that means you get the first shot at solving problems that benefit you both.

The content you share can be links to articles (Curated) with comments, Videos, articles you write, blog posts or anything of value to your connection.  Your success depends on the quality and appropriateness of the content you share. 

Obviously original content does more to build your authority on a subject, be wary of plagiarism or trying to make an article someone else wrote be your own.  It's one thing to take knowledge you gained through reading and write your own article but copy and paste is not advisable, ever.  Remember if the topic is relevant, the connection may have already found and read that same article and if so he will see it in your article and you lose all credibility.

Keep it personal and pertinent to your ideal client/customer and you will do fine, even if you miss the target on a share, don't give up, your new connection will appreciate the thought and the effort.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Engage and build

In my last blog post Be a resource I discussed the second step in finding and getting new clients/customers online.  Given that you are now connected and in a conversation, what's next?

Build on the initial engagement
Your goal is to build the relationship by adding value to the conversation in any way that you can.  Try to make anything you send them be relevant and current.  It can be content you create or content you curate.  When you feel that your new friend is open to your opinion and appreciates your contributions then and only then can you take the conversation offline and ask for a meeting, coffee, lunch, etc. if practical or an online meeting to get face time.

It is only natural that what you do (and sell) will come up in the conversation if if so that's great, but be very careful not to come across as pitching or actively selling.  If there is  synergy with your new contact let it emerge naturally and you can win big.

Try to look for triggers, events, or articles or videos that your new contact might be interested in.  A good sign that you are making progress is when they start sharing content with you.  If you ask for a meeting and they decline, just be polite and say, "maybe next time" or "sure no problem."

Remember they cannot buy from you if they don't know you exist.  They want to solve problems and if you are the first one to offer a solution, you will likely win, even if you are not profiting directly by your advice, you win because you are building a relationship that can lead to a sale when the time is right.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Be a resource

In my last blog Get Linked I described the first step in using social media to generate leads.  That is to make meaningful connections not just clicking on the connect button but take a few extra moments to check out the contact and make a personalized message.

Meaningful content
The second step should come a week or so later unless your first message got a positive response.  The second message should provide meaningful content but still not a sales pitch for your products or services, but rather something your new contact might be interested in related to  things you see in their profile.

for example:

Hi [John], I just read this and thought you might be interested. [Link] is all about [summary] and I found it useful, hope you do as well.

Warm regards,

Mike

You can ask if you can help with anything such as specific topics or research you can do FOR BOTH OF YOU.  Again no sales pitch, NONE.  Your goal is to engage and build value in the conversation.


Saturday, June 1, 2019

Get Linked

As I wrote in my last Blog,  Sales isn't just selling you need to be building relationships with your ideal customers.

LinkedIn is designed for business, and is a terrific place to meet people and generate leads and get business.

Meeting people is the goal.
You can get connected on LinkedIn in a number of ways, but don't get suckered into concentrating on getting connections alone.  It is so easy to just hit the connect button and add them to your list, but that doesn't build a relationship, trust and most importantly lead to business.

When you get a connection request, take a few moments to look at their profile.  If they are even close to an ideal client or customer, then not only accept the connect but reply with a message to thank them for connecting and offer your assistance if they need anything.  Do not give a sales pitch.  If they connected for some other reason, like Alumni, mutual friends/connections, etc. a sales pitch may turn them off.

Personalize the message refer to something in their profile like where they are working, what they do, what they have posted, etc.  ENGAGE them in conversation, like meeting a mutual friend in a coffee shop.  No spam, no proposals, no detailed product or service features.  Keep it short and personal, 300 characters or less.

Remember he may be connecting with you for the same reason you would connect with him and only waiting for your acceptance to reach out.

Something like this,

Hi [John] thanks for connecting, I see you attended ASU a couple years before me.  Please let me know if there  is anything I can do to help an Alum.

Warm regards,

Mike Oliver

Friday, May 31, 2019

Sales isn't just selling

Everybody is selling.  If you are a low level employee you are selling your labor to the manager.  Do a good job and deliver more value that your boss is paying you to deliver and you keep your job .  Deliver more than your boss is paying you to deliver by a significant amount and you can earn a pay increase or even a promotion.  As soon as you stop delivering what your boss is paying you to deliver and you will lose your job.

So how is that different in other jobs, other industries, other markets, other titles?  Not much as it turns out.  If the CEO delivers results in shareholder value, he keeps his job, do even better and he gets a bonus, fails and he is replaced.  Everywhere in between is the same, everybody has a boss and everybody needs to deliver more value than he/she is being paid to deliver or they lose their job or customers or clients.

Whit that in mind here are some other facts to consider in the retail sales area.

They cannot buy from you if they don't know you exit.  Good location, good advertising, good word of mouth all contribute to customers knowing you exist and possibly buy from you.

People like to buy but hate to be sold.  You need to attract customers and help them with the buy decision, not push them into what you want them to buy.

People like to buy from someone they know and  trust.  Get to know your customers, talk with them, find out what they want and do not want.  Look as that they tell you and find ways to satisfy their need you will get more customers and sales.

Satisfied customers will tell one friend about you.  Dissatisfied customers will tell 5 friends about you.  Provide good customer experience, make them happy and you will grow.  Failure to do that will cause your business to decline rapidly.

Do not be afraid to refer a customer to another store if you know they can find what they are looking for there.  it builds trust and they will come to you first for the next product they need.

Lastly people buy:

1) From the first person that can solve a problem or fill a need;
2) From the person with the lowest perceived risk solution to their problem or need;
3) From the person with the BEST solution to their problem or need.

And they do it in THAT ORDER.

Happy selling.