Two major philosophies of salesmanship are prevalent among experts today, and the disagreement is understandable as both views have their valid points to make. The first approach is to emphasize being a strong closer over all else, while the second approach is to lean more heavily on being a great prospector. In other words, the philosophical tussle is between the importance of finding great prospects and converting the prospect you have.
Those who emphasize closing will offer such advice as the following:
- Empathize with your potential customers, but don’t end up agreeing with them on the reasons they have for not purchasing your product.
- Educate the prospect with truly valuable information they are interested in, giving them reasons to buy and a reason to return even if they don’t immediately buy.
- Avoid the topic of price as long as possible. Spending money is not a subject that motivates many, and saving money only makes sense after you have already convinced the person that your product if worthwhile.
- Avoid total closure. Getting a “maybe” is better than a “never,” and “yes” on a small point is better than “no” to everything. Have a plan to prolong the conversation in order to find at least something the prospective customer can agree to.
On the other hand, those who emphasize prospecting will promote such strategies as these:
- Focus on making every page of your website attractive, engaging, easy to navigate, and full of opportunities to fill out a sign-up form.
- Take full advantage of social media to promote your business since it can connect you to an immense audience and can be a source of friend-to-friend referrals.
- Use highly targeted and situation-specific email follow-ups to turn leads into customers.
- Offer a blog and other solid content that will build a loyal readership, from which you can “mine” future loyal clients.
- Don’t go 100% digital. Still network face to face at trade shows and other events. Exchange contact information with interested parties and add them to your database.
Sales success must ultimately entail both prospecting and closing, but building a strong, detailed list of prospects is the foundation of the whole process. Furthermore, it is much easier to close when you have good prospects to begin with and much easier to practice your closing skills when your have numerous prospects on your list. Thus, good prospecting
is the more crucial of these two important sales-steps.
Use of social media is growing as fast among business owners as it is among the general population- which translates into “It’s booming.” In fact, a Mediabistro report reveals that 73% of small businesses today are now involved in social media marketing.
There are a number of good reasons why marketing your products or services through social sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ makes good business sense to small businessmen. We will look at three of these reasons just below, but first, let it be said that if you aren’t using social media to bolster your business, your competition is. That competition is fierce, and social media marketing has become so key to success that those who still refuse to “get social” might just as well pack up and “go home.”
- Cost-Effectiveness: The first reason to “get social” with your business ads is that around half of modern shoppers count on social media for help in making a purchase decision. Recommendations on their favorite social sites are frequently taken quite seriously, so you had better be making those recommendations instead of your competition. In the end, the ROI on the money, time, and effort invested is typically high enough to easily justify a full-fledged social media marketing program.
- Customer Acquisition: A majority of the world’s 7 billion people are now members of at least one social media site, and there are 1.7 billion such sites now in existence. There is enormous potential to gain new prospects via social media marketing with relative ease, and this stems both from the sheer numbers involved and the fact that many are far more likely to buy a product advertised at a social site that they use. Additionally, social site friends will often recommend your product to others both on and off the site, creating a fountainhead for word-of-mouth advertisement.
- Customer Interaction: Via social media, businesses can directly engage clients or potential clients in interactions such as Q&A surveys, opinion polls, two-way conversations, and more. While these same sort of activities could potentially take place at a business’ website, prospects are often more willing to take part in them in a more “relaxed social environment.”
Once the great potential of social media marketing is understood, many small business owners increase the time and money spent on this form of advertisement and see beneficial effects. According to a Swiftgate survey, 50% of businesses had recently boosted their time spent on social media sites and had gained new clients as a result. Success will not come apart from offering useful, relevant content to consumers and posting high-quality ads, but locating your material in a high-yield environment (social media sites) is winning half the battle.
If you are a small business owner, you have probably taken out a loan from time to time. As part of the terms of repaying that loan, you had to pay a significant amount of interest. That’s how loans work. You borrow an amount and repay that amount plus interest. So, why do you let the government borrow your money interest-free? Overpaying your taxes allows the government to use your money. Money that you could use yourself.
The odds are that your small business needs to make the most out of every dollar. Reducing costs is certainly one of your major priorities. Often small business owners leave on cost reduction on the table. They overpay their taxes. How can you avoid overpaying?
Record Every Expense
Make sure you keep accurate records of every expense. Get professional help in understanding what deductions are available. When in doubt, keep the record and do some research to check if the deduction is allowed. It’s important to consider that tax law changes from year to year. Maintain a current understanding of tax credits and allowable deductions.
Avoid sending up any red flags by understanding some of the more common traps. These traps include the home office deduction, the ambiguous miscellaneous deduction, and the often blurred lines between business and personal expense deduction.
Pay On Time
Paying on time will ensure that you avoid costly penalties. As we all know, April 15 is tax day; however, owners of small businesses are considered self- employed. That classification means that you must pay estimated quarterly taxes plus quarterly self-employment taxes. Paying these taxes late might get you audited and can you leave you liable for interest penalties.
Paying estimated taxes can get confusing. One of the easiest methods is to start with the amount you paid the previous year adjusted for any changes, or predicted changes, like growth or additional expenses. Once you decide on an amount, spread that number over the 12 months of the year, and you know what you will need for each quarterly payment.
Each year around tax time you hear a lot of political talk about reforming the tax code. In its current form, the tax code is unbelievably complex and at times impossible to understand. Investing in the services of a professional tax service is one of the wisest moves you can make. They can help you keep more of your money to use in the financial management of your business. Yes, it will mean an added expense but one that will pay for itself many times over.
Advances in technology have made it possible to automate more of your business processes than ever before, and this is an opportunity you really can’t afford to pass up. The fact is that modern business operations are more complex and demanding than in the past, and those who fail to take advantage of available automation systems can be sure their competition will not make the oversight. When competitors boost their efficiency through automation and you don’t, you put yourself at a disadvantage.
Why automate?– To save time, which saves money, which gives you more investment capital to grow on. Automation allows you to get many of your business tasks done without doing them yourself and without hiring an extra employee to handle them.
How can you automate? – There are many tools available, too many to list them all. But 4 of the most important tools that make your life easier by reducing the number of business tasks you must do manually include:
- Email Marketing Tools: EMTs, like Active Campaign and MailChimp for example, help you to set up web forms and autoresponders as well as receive email marketing reports on things like open-rates and click-through rates. Auto-responders are particularly helpful because they automatically send out emails after a web form is filled out.
- Marketing Automation Tools: MATs, like InfusionSoft and Marketo, are a step above email marketing tools in that you can pre-set rules that will respond to actions related to your follow-up emails. They also allow you to segment contacts more effectively, which lets you keep delivered content relevant and far more likely to see high conversion rates. You can pre-arrange the rules to automatically send the right messages to the right people at the right time.
- Contact Relationship Management Tools: CRMs, such as Zoho and Insightly, automate the gathering and storage of valuable data on clients/prospects. They also help with management of sales processes, workflows, and more. With a CRM, Human error is greatly reduced in your files, and updating is easy.
- Shopping Cart Tools: Automating online payments with shopping cart solutions, like Shopify or BIG Commerce, is a must for any company selling through its website. Shopping carts can also help you track sales data like purchase quantity and frequency and give prospects the chance to make a purchase through one of your online “sales funnels.” If anything is worth automating, surely it’s the money-making process.