Minerva

Your Sales - our Speciality

Welcome to my blog

 

Minerva aims to promote ethics, efficiency and effecacy - so to help you master your craft I will share a  blog on Friday with sales and business skills to help you shine!

 

The blogs will follow a monthly theme to build your skills and will be accompanied by tips on social media - don't miss out link in, follow the tweets or like the facebook page.

By jewelscarter, Nov 20 2015 12:35PM

Does the phrase selling activity bring you out in hives?


Does the idea of closing, upselling or cold calling make you tremble?


Does the idea of having sales calls, prospecting or overcoming objections have you running for the hills?


As a business owner it is understandable, but it is also counterproductive. As a business owner you need clients, paying clients and that means sales activity. It does not however have to bring you out in a cold sweat at the very mention of the words…if you rebrand your marketing activities then you bypass your brains associations with that activity, thus avoiding the dread you associate with it.


Let’s start by thinking about the sales process not as a process where you push yourself upon any one that comes by but a process designed to filter and educate. To do this you much engage in two way interaction with people. It is simply a conversation with a purpose.


So now rather than sales activity you are filtering your market, doesn’t that feel better? You don’t have to push or be salesy instead you can be interested and friendly, looking for ways you can help. When you present your products and services remember you are the expert in your niche so you are educating people on how you can help them. This surely is better than selling like those annoying calls you get for ppi?


Also think about overcoming objections – rather than talking someone into something think of it as finding the best solution for your client. This means if you know in your heart you really can help a client then you will try to ensure your client has heard and understood your proposed solution. If you are selling ethically then this is exactly what you are doing – problem-solving.


Closing – rather than think of it as a strong arm tactic in its pure form it is setting out the terms and agreeing them, setting expectations and ensuring you are in harmony with your client. That’s just good customer service. Asking what the client is thinking about your services is not pushy, it is showing concern. You are ensuring your client understands you.


Another few somantic changes could be useful for you too. Rather than sales calls I have joining conversations, which are calls where I know the person has considered using my kind of services by filtering, which is simply asking people you encounter if they have ever considered using your kind of services. This is not only a more gentle approach, but when used in a systematic, methodological approach is more effective than any of the harder sales techniques.


Now doesn’t if feel better to speak to magic clients, having selected them from filtering conversations, helping find solutions for them, ensuring you have checked they really understand what you can do for them, then harmonising your mutual expectations before working together. Who says there’s nothing in a name?


By jewelscarter, Nov 13 2015 12:37PM


Last week I mentioned how thinking differently about bringing clients on board rather than “selling” can make a big difference in your mindset which translates to better business growth. We also touched upon how language can help you develop a healthy mindset. We know this is important as without paying customers we have no business.


One of those words that makes my scare free success students cringe is USP or unique selling point. Yet without you knowing what makes you stand out from the crowd, why you are good at what you do and why your customers should use you – your usps- then you cannot expect your customers to know why they should choose to use you.


So do we need to think of it as a unique selling point? Do we need to conjure images of that camel coat shouting down our common sense to make a sale at any cost?


Absolutely. If we think about the purpose of the USP it is to educate our potential clients as to what we do, the benefits we bring to them and how we are different from our peers. So what we have are Unique Teaching Points or UTPs. These are the things it is our job to educate our potential clients with respect to what we can do for them.


This process is always easier if you are clear on what your UTPs are and how they benefit your clients.


To get clear on your UTP’s follow this exercise.


By jewelscarter, Nov 6 2015 11:39AM

Why are you in business?


Whatever your why maybe, to make money or earn a living should be high on your list of reasons. If not you don’t have a business you have a hobby. One of the tools to finding the customers to create your turnover is networking. I love networking, for all the obvious reasons; meeting new people, catching up with people and helping solve problems. I also find it amusing when I tell people what I do…I take the scare out of making sales, I help people grow their business and not their fear or I take the terror out of talking are some of the phrases I use. This boils down to giving people the techniques and the confidence to go out and get customers. In short I teach you to sell…


The reaction often polarises the room into two camps – those that are confident selling and those that are scared of selling. This fear of making sales leads to two reactions; denial – “I don’t need to sell, my client’s find me” or “I don’t need to sell I do social media/marketing/networking” and sheer terror.


That was the case for my one client who was in a lather about her first marketing adventure when she wrote, “After our brief first contact nearly three weeks ago, I had the courage to contact Jewels and admit that 'Sales' frightened me and that I desperately needed help. The thought of putting together my first editorial made me feel so nervous, so much so that I had put off doing it until it was nearly too late for publication.


The feeling I had when I'd come off the phone with Jewels the first time round was a tremendous sense of relief. Jewels listened, she understood and re-iterated my need. She gave me a time slot for our telephone meeting and promised to deliver my editorial within the hour. Not only did she deliver on time, the work was incredible and totally usable. Jewels also gave me the opportunity to explore other areas in which she could help and take my business forward.


Now that my panic is over I feel so much better. I'm looking forward to our next meeting in three days time........”


Such panic doesn’t need to hold you back. It only takes a small change in how you think about how you bring customers into your business that allows you to sell with the best of them. The first thing you need to do is cull the camel coat.


What do I mean by this? Well to let go of the preconceptions you have about making sales. This is because we all want business to succeed, which means exchanging goods for money i.e. bringing customers on board. To do this you have to make sales and this means engaging customers or talking to them. Before you go into full blown chills about cold calling, don’t panic. You do not have to turn into one of those annoying callers that catch you just as you are about to sit down to supper. You don’t have to push your clients so hard that you feel guilty with every yes or worry about whether they will like you with every word you utter.


A good way to do this is to change the language you use when you refer to your marketing activity, which is something I will address throughout November. I will also be running a scare-free workshop, for which if you book now you can avoid VAT. For details click here.


By jewelscarter, Oct 30 2015 02:23PM

One of the things my clients often cite when you really probe down into why they are not performing is fear, and very often it comes down to a fear of rejection…whether that is a prospective customer saying no, saying they are busy or just not getting enough customers.


If you find those little devils on your shoulder saying things like “What if no-one likes it?” “What if I can’t get customers?” or “What if it gets panned?” then there is probably a little fear demon called “fear of rejection” lurking away somewhere. These little devils feed that spectre that often hangs over us, keeping us firmly rooted in our past by our inaction which for Halloween I have dubbed the ghoul of rejection.


So what do you do if you find a ghoul hanging on your shoulder?


Well there is only one thing you can do – confront it. Before you run clutching your duvet and clinging to your comfort zone for dear life, it is not so scary if you follow this step by step plan…


1. Befriend the little ghoul


To look this little ghoul in the face it is much easier if you strip out all the negativity and judgement. So accept you are a little scared, as Taylor Swift said, “I think fearless is having fears but jumping anyway.” We all panic a bit from time to time, even the boldest of us are scared. It is important if you are to conquer it you will need to be kind. So see it for the lost soul that it is, buy it a metaphorical coffee and stop blaming it or you for your lack of progress.


2. Get to know the ghoul inside out


This is your secret weapon, think about all the times this little demon strikes. What are you doing or thinking of doing at this time? Also consider what you are not doing that you know would help you to reach your goals, and think about why you are not doing this. Are there some simple sticking points preventing you from reaching your goal? Finally consider what activities fill you with dread, whether you think at this moment in time they are important to your business. Make sure you set aside some quiet time to work all this out or you could keep a journal with you for a week and every time you find yourself hesitating make a note of what you are doing and what is going on. This will help you identify what is feeding your fear demon and how to cut off its fuel at the source.


3. Get to know your options


It’s important not only to get to know your ghouls but also to consider what you can do to tackle them. So again take some quiet time and think about what you could do to get yourself back on track, no matter how ridiculous they seem, put the ideas on paper. Don’t censor at this time and it is ok to be totally unrealistic…such fantasy ideas may spark a good one for reality. The other side of this coin is to note what you avoid doing and think about why. For example it is common to find my clients put off making sales. They want the business, so it is a little demon, but still they do not contact the person they met networking that would love their services to follow up. So they are avoiding talking to potential clients. So you tackle all the reasons that could be…fear of rejection – depersonalise it, fear of not knowing what to say – remind them they can look it up, they are an expert and fill in any knowledge gaps, fear of someone being rude – remind them it is rare, that person is stressed or an idiot and do they want them as a client anyway etc…you get the picture, find a solution even if it is how you think about the problem and constantly focus on the outcome not the problem.


4. Organise your thoughts


So you have a list of solutions, take a break and come back to it at a time when you are feeling your most confident and happy, possibly after a good result. Look at what you have written and take each idea and list the possible outcomes, again no matter how unrealistic or Harry Potter they may be. Take another break and come back when you are next feeling your most confident and happy. Now rank your solutions from the most likely to the least likely…select the 3 courses of action that are more than averagely likely and most desirable.


5. Research and learn


You have 3 courses of action, now is the time to break it down into all the steps you need to fulfil those outcomes. Make it as detailed as if you were instructing a child or an alien from the planet Zog. Take no detail for granted. If you are unsure what to do – learn the basics. Then select which of the 3 takes you to your big goal and you are most likely to follow. This is your plan. Make sure you know you are the expert in this field and that you have plugged any gaps in your knowledge.


6. Stop hiding


Don’t be tempted to research to the bounds of infinity, as this is not a phd but a bit of a kick up the bum. It’s a good idea to put a timescale on your research and stick to it.


7. Plan your journey


Take your research and step by step approach and formalise it. Write it up like a process in a how to manual, and put timescales on it. Also build in time to celebrate your successes, rewards for your persistence and progress and some measures to know how you are improving. This is your way…


8. How are you feeling


If you are raring to go – excellent. Take it slowly and remember you will have set backs but they are just checks to keep you on your toes and keep you learning. Praise your efforts and your outcomes.


If you are still feeling a little scared, take a very small baby step towards your journey and keep taking them until you have got it. If it isn’t going to plan you need to make your steps smaller, and break it down further.


If you still don’t make any progress then you need a little bit of help. Talk it over with your business coach or give me a call and I will soon find your little monster for you…as you have simply not befriended the right one.


I hope you have enjoyed our Halloween series of demons that may be holding you back as I have enjoyed sharing it with you…and next month watch out for some pointers on how to talk about growing your business so you don’t start panicking when thinking about marketing.


By jewelscarter, Oct 23 2015 12:01PM

Do you have vampires in your business?

That person who makes your heart sink as you see their details flash up on your incoming call or as a meeting in your diary?

If so why are they there?


These people are vampires, they suck away your life energy just as Dracula sucked his victims’ blood. These are the people who drain all of your resources as they take so much energy to deal with there is none left for some of the activities that will banish them forever.


If they are part of your team then you need to establish why they are there and what they contribute, then look at how you can minimise their impact…could they contribute just as effectively with email for example or in extreme cases you may decide they no longer belong on your team.


If they are suppliers you may have to consider if any cost savings are negated by the time it takes to deal with them and recover from dealing with them and then would another supplier be more beneficial?


If they are customers then the why may have a little less clarity. It is always difficult to think about potentially losing a customer – especially when things are tight – but what if on reflection this customer is actually costing you more than you earn from them?


This is why I often ask my clients to consider being as selective with their customers as they are with their suppliers. To think before they bring someone on to join them – in short to ask these 5 simple questions that will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.


What are these 5 questions? Here goes…


1. Will they benefit from my service, love my products or understand my message?


In today’s shrinking geographical world it has never been more important to seek out those that get you and your business. To find those that understand your unique business and make your work days seem like a joy. Referrals, reputation and repeat business are the new 3 R’s and they all start by finding those that share your unique culture.


2. Will this prospect praise me or slate me to others – regardless of the standard of service I provide.


Again today’s world is more connected and to make sense of the mass of information we rely on peer review more than we ever have. We need to trust someone has chosen well and to follow them…so you need to ensure your new clients will all review you well. To ensure this is the case deselect serial moaners and chose those that get you.


3. What is the return on my investment of time


We are in business to make money, but many of us forget to add our time into the equation….so we need to know that this customer will not take up a disproportionate amount of our time…if they will be labour intensive, is that reflected in the price you charge?


4. What is the return on my investment of money?


Once upon a time I worked in a large company, and it was very common place for the top commission earners to actually be costing the company money, as they were only able to bring customers in if they discounted on price or sold the loss leaders – ie. Products you discount heavily to bring customers into using the higher priced products. Remember the aim of the business is to make money so make sure your client doesn’t cost you more than you get paid. I know its obvious but you have to consider it all…


5. What does the long term relationship with this client look like?


Always consider how long the client will be with you and how that relationship will change. Will it always be profitable or will there come a point when you have to tactfully move them on to someone else? Will these clients be great sources of referrals in the future…or part of a joint venture? If so how can you nurture this relationship?


These questions are useful pointers when making sales in your business and how to set up your clients on your database, how to interact with them and how to ensure all parties have maximum benefit at minimum cost. This little bit of bravery and effort now will make life so much better in the long term - it will be like garlic to a vampire…


By jewelscarter, Oct 16 2015 08:23AM


You know you are born to be great…you know it. You know that you are an amazing [insert passion/profession here] -everybody tells you, yet you just seem to be hovering back. There are some ‘should do this’ and ‘if only I could get to do that’ lurking around, but you just don’t seem to be able to take the next step.


Every time you put that best foot forward, that little nagging voice tells you to stop and you get in your own way. I am sure I am not the only person that feels this, and hears that voice say “what me do that?” “Surely that’s not for the likes of little ole me?” or “That’s just a bit too grown up for you – leave it to the big boys” These are those limiting beliefs trying to save us from ourselves.

What you probably don’t realise is that every day you are setting these little demons onto yourself, creating another invisible barrier to your ideal life and draining your confidence along the way. So here are 5 ways you let these monsters loose…


1. Goals Too Close


We all need to know what we are working towards that is why we set goals. We also know that we have to have goals we can reach…yet in setting our goals too near to our present situation without looking at the big picture or end game means we have instantly told our subconscious that this is our limit. We have created a limiting belief. This little demon will sit on your shoulder every time you try to move past this point and tell you it’s too big and scary. You will begin to stand in your own way.


2. Goals Too Far


Conversely if you only set goals that are big picture, pie in the sky and far, far away it doesn’t matter how attainable they are for you they will be difficult to pursue. You need the detail in breaking these blue sky goals down into segments and a plan of action to make them feel real, immediate and a priority. If you don’t then your short term belief that you can do what you need to do will be limited by the vagueness of your plan. Clarity -> Confidence ->Action -> Results


3. Lack of Focus


Another little demon with it long reaching fingers and small penetrating voice is created when we allow our focus to drift from our primary goals. I often call this “shiny shiny syndrome” and it is simply being distracted by potential opportunities that are really distractions. Each time you find yourself in shiny shiny land ask yourself how will this fit with the big plan? Does it have to be done now? Is this more effective or less effective than my original plan? Don’t follow this demon blindly he will destroy your dreams


4. Too Much Focus


Again a bit of a contradiction but if you focus too much on the chosen path then you may not react well to any curve balls you may be thrown or you may miss a perfect opportunity to advance your cause. This demon is a clever little demon, because he is created from the very thing that keeps you going, and robs you of your perspective. To combat this little devil then you need to keep reviewing your work, your path, your action plan and checking that you are using your resources wisely.


5. Only Just Syndrome


Finally every time you use phrases like “I just do….” or “I only do…” or “I am only…..” you create a demon that will hide in your psyche and stop you in your tracks every single time. We use phrases like this because we don’t want to sound big headed or arrogant, but actually we are telling both those around us and ourselves that we are only a little bit good, good enough to only go to here, second best. We are so accustomed to using this language we don’t even realise when we do. So the only way to stop creating these little monsters is to catch ourselves in the act.


So to slay the demon of limiting beliefs begin with the big goals, but remember to break them down.


Focus on the plan but not so much you fail to evaluate and don’t let little demons seep into your everyday language…create health not elf and use your business coach to make sure you aren’t creating limits for your mind to hold you to.


By jewelscarter, Oct 12 2015 12:02PM

Very often you talk to potential clients and they say they don’t do sales…so how are they still in business?

When you explore this concept you soon learn that they do want to grow a healthy business and help as many people as possible, they just find it difficult to initiate such conversations. In short they just don’t know how to start a join up conversation.


You may think this is lack of experience but when you think about it we may be shy about striking up conversations but we still do it all the time. We will often say “excuse me” to an assistant in a shop if they don’t have our size, we will often ask if some stranger is in the queue or we will (well if stereotypes are to believed women will at least) stop a stranger to ask for directions. So we can initiate conversations, so why do we shy away from starting important conversations with potential customers?

This is because our past experiences tell us not to; these are the ghosts of experience past. So lets look at the top 5 ghosts and how to exorcise them once and for all….


1. The Ghost of Bad Sales Callers Past


This ghost is unusual as this is created by your expectation of what a join up conversation is, often formed by the worst of your own personal experiences of being sold to. Like many of our assumptions it is created by psychological bias and although could protect us – from being drawn into something we don’t want – it also stops us from achieving our goals.


This is because when you think of something you will automatically think of the biggest…be it most common experience or the most profound. We take for granted the helpful sales experiences and they fall into our unconscious memory, instead we remember all the times we were irritated by ppi, utility suppliers and accident lawyers because this is an extreme of bad, hard selling. It is impersonal, number driven and as far from real sales as you can get. In order to build your business you need to recognise this as what it is and remove it from your psyche. This is not real sales and is not how you sell.


2. The Ghost of the Unknown Question


Another common comment when you engage with people about their customer conversations is the what if? This is almost always what if they ask me something I don’t know the answer to, or a question I cannot handle, that makes me feel uncomfortable etc. This is a big confidence crusher, and is also a bit of a red herring. Well obviously you are an expert at what you do and you are knowledgeable. That doesn’t mean you have every conceivable answer at your fingertips every second of the day. It’s ok to want to check something out. What we often don’t realise is that this is an opportunity to do something for someone that adds value to them. We can look up their question, get back to them and engage them. They may even feel gratitude to us, and this shows how trustworthy we are. Surely they will buy from you, as you helped them.


3. The Ghost of Being Too …


This is the ghost of fearing being perceived as too pushy, salesy, masculine, dodgy etc. It is a big reason why we don’t push ourselves forward. We can’t help wanting to be thought the best of, so I am not going to suggest you beat yourself up for this, rather to embrace this need to be a good social animal and to exorcise this ghost by listening to your customers…whether they are snapping your hand off to buy or reluctant. Get to know them and what they like…how can you be pushy, salesy or dodgy if you care enough to listen.


4. The Ghost of Bad Timing


We have done it, rang our best friend or even a taxi company and been told “sorry its just that….” Many people who begin to have join up conversations for the first time find they catch a client at a bad time. It often has the effect of falling off a bicycle. If you get back on this type of call is lost in the noise of all the others, but if you don’t you cannot forget how bad you felt and this haunts your join up conversations forever. You make yourself look unsure by apologising for calling, assuming you have caught them at a bad time, which then tells them it should be a bad time. The spiral continues. Then you say I am bad at this, I don’t do it well, I am not a….when really you just need to do it, and remember the times you were caught off guard. Then wished they would call back two days later.


5. The Ghost of Rejection


Very similar to the Ghost of Bad Timing, rejection is probably the spectre hanging over all of us. It is difficult when we are told no in many circumstances, our natural reaction is to protect ourselves, take it personally and assume it is because we are unlikeable or incompetent. It is important though to see this in its proper perspective and not through our own ego. We need to think about why the answer is no…is it because we are unsuitable or because the client doesn’t understand us? Is it a never or a not right now? It should never be because of us, we listen and we care so we are not the reason for the no…it is simply a mismatch for now. By not taking it personally and asking what the reason for the no is then really understanding the answer we learn that no is not a no to us but an I’m not ready for that.


So don’t be scared of ghosts in your business…be brave and real and soon there will be no monsters to scare you out of sales.



By jewelscarter, Oct 2 2015 12:26PM

Every small business owner wants to be successful or why do they bother? How they define success is very much a personal thing, but it always involves exchanging your customer’s cash for your product. This is called making sales. Yes I know it is very basic and I don’t want to patronise you but rather remind you of a fundamental paradox I often observe in my clients, which I refer to as the success paradox.


This states that every business owner wants to be successful, enjoy their vision of their lifestyle which involves exchanging their time for money, ie selling product, but they find it scary to sell.


That is normal. Even seasoned sales professionals have calls and visits they dread. Ask any of them how they felt when they were learning to sell and they would probably say nervous.


To become a success in business and to sell your services takes both knowledge and confidence; I can give you lots of techniques to seek out and convert your magic customers but they are no use to you if I don’t give you the confidence to go out and use them. The reason for this is that we are asking you to face monsters.


These monsters though are not your potential customers – even if your brain tells you they are – but rather your own fear monsters. As it is Halloween, (one of my favourite holidays, as it is quite a fun, theatrical time when the weather is still just warm enough to enjoy it) I thought we could look at some of these characters in detail and let you know the secret weapons to slay them like Buffy.


There are 5 main devils to be wary of – the witch, the ghost, the demon, the vampire and the ghoul. Week by week in October I will introduce you to one of these, tell you how to spot it and give you some inside information as to how to send it back to where it came from.


This week I thought I would introduce you to the witch. This is a dark creature, made all the more scary as we all know she is out there, have encountered her many times and so dread she is inside us too enchanting innocents into buying things they do not want, need or find useful. Her spells are weaved in an instant, robbing us of time to think and then flying off with our money on her broomstick.


Whilst we all can recognise a pushy sales person it is often the thing we dread becoming the most – who wants to be thought of as slimy, selfish and slippery? This crafty little customer can also appear in the guise of someone that is outwardly overconfident, but is actually rather nervous. They over compensate and instead of appearing helpful they seem too in your face – or worse desperate.


Yes the problem of the witch is that she is a manifestation of a lack of confidence. All pushy salespeople are lacking a small piece of the confidence puzzle. So to tackle the witch here are 5 areas you need to be tip top in.


1. Know your product


If you know what you do, what your market place is and what your limitations are then you will have the confidence to talk to people about what you do. You will have the confidence to tell them when you are not the best person for them, when you can really help them and what solution works best for them. You are confident enough that you can deal with their queries and to talk about their situation with ease.


2. Ditch the script


If you rely upon a script you will always be worried about being caught off guard. So learn your market, get to know your client group as well as you can and learn about your competition, alternative solutions to your clients’ needs and the barriers to using your service or product. After all if you know all this – why do you need to bore your client with irrelevant information because it’s in the script when instead you can talk to them directly?


3. Know your story


Why are you doing this? What makes it your job to do what you do? These are all things that if you know the answer to it, then it makes it easier to understand why your potential client is doing what they are doing. When we understand our motives we are less judgemental and more accepting of the motives of others. This is a great tool for engaging with your prospective customers, you can share your motivations, common ground and experiences. Now you have rapport


4. Ask don’t assume


Don’t assume just because they aren’t biting your hands off that it’s the end of the matter, instead ask what it is that makes them say no…do so nicely and in the correct manner and you will have an open door rather than a burnt bridge. Ask your client’s how they are meeting their needs at the moment, and indeed what their needs are rather than assuming you know what’s best for them. This is engagement at its best.


5. Put yourself in your prospects shoes


If your client says no, and you have asked why, but you don’t have an answer for them - don’t take it personally, after all it is not you. Put yourself in their shoes and think back to times when you were in their situation. Then remember it is their situation now and situations change, so extend the hand of friendship and keep in touch.


What you need to remember is that to melt the wicked witch you need to smother her in gentle concern, interest and knowledge. Be interested in your clients and their challenges, be confident in you and your products and take it slow.


If you want to know how to ask those questions then contact me for the latest training opportunities.


By jewelscarter, Sep 25 2015 09:50AM

So how was it for you?


Christmas is over for another year, you had a bumper season and you sold lots – now you can kick back

on your laurels pleased with yourself right?


Wrong.


This new business you have built up will have with it some momentum, and if you really want to get the best out of your Christmas season its time to harness that momentum.


“but I have done so well, don’t I deserve a break?” Of course you do, but life isn’t always like that. The things that often make all the difference are those little things that you do extra now that save you lots later, like writing a to do list for the next day, preparing the vegetables in advance for a stew or following up.

In this instance you have began conversations with new clients, educated them on what your world has to offer and they think talking to you is great, you are their first choice when it comes to buying pressies/hosting a party/dressing up etc. Then what?


Well remember those friends you have? The ones you used to talk to at least once a week but now hardly see? What happened when you skipped their phone call one Tuesday to go on holiday? It possibly lost momentum, you began phoning every fortnight, and then once a month as your conversations became lost amongst the noise of an ever more hectic life. This is what happens with your customers.


So to avoid this, what you need to do now you are talking to them is find ways to stop the conversation from fading into the minutia of their lives by - being helpful. Remember part one? The two things you need to be are happy and helpful. Here is five tips to get you started, but remember creativity is king…the more you

think about how you can help your clients then the more they will want to engage in your efforts.


1. Newsletter


This is an obvious way to keep in touch, ask people to sign up to newsletters where you can share your knowledge with them. For you this is a marketing tool, but to your client it is resource to dip into when they need you. That’s why your articles need to be current, informative and helpful. What do your client’s need most in January? There is your article. You can also include competitions, quizzes, how to guides, 5 quick tips, recipes, user guides and readers questions to engage your audience. Just be creative and don’t forget you can write for allied businesses and have guest authors in your blog too.


2. Blog


You probably have a website; make use of the blog function whether to post articles to support your newsletter or to engage with your clients direct, by possibly sharing their experiences in the blog. A case study or clinic can work well in some blogs and this will help affirm your reputation as caring, knowledgeable and helpful.


3. Events


Christmas may have gone but there are lots of other things to celebrate throughout the year. Such events can help remind your customers you are there and build loyalty. For example an aquarium keeper hosted a fish on Friday event on the second Friday of the month. It ran from 4:30 until the shop closed at 6pm. It featured the fish of the month, there was a kiddies activity to find the fish, colour it in and a little talk with a fact sheet on the fish. There would be an offer related to that fish and the staff would be geared up to answer questions on this fish. Sometimes they were run of the mill like a Danio, other times really special like the lion fish. Guess what? Fridays were great days for the shop. What could you do to create a buzz around your business?


4. Field Trips


There are probably many ways to go out and meet your clients out of your shop. This could be attending fetes, exhibitions, doing workplace talks, networking or any other way you can think of. You know where your customers are so how can you put yourself in front of them? What can you do to make a difference to them? Like the fish on Fridays, which gave an opportunity for people with concerns about their aquarium to talk to someone how can you help enhance your customer’s experience or solve their problems?


5. Print or Social media


I am sure there are lots of groups out there whether in trade mags or on-line groups that are dedicated to what you do or dedicated users of what you do. Find some, find out which are your favourites and look at what you can contribute regularly to their community.


There are lots more ideas you can tailor to suit your unique business, but this should be the start of some long term positive engagement with your customers. Now there is as always a word of caution and in this case you get two for one. Firstly it can be very time consuming so plan where you think you will get the most return, monitor your success and tweak as necessary.


Second and most importantly, when you reach out to your customers it is a wonderful thing, but as it is often takes us out of our comfort zone we can over compensate. So when you plan think carefully about how you will be perceived by the people you talk to. Start gently where appropriate for example in a forum, and then start with a bang where you need to for example launching an event or newsletter.


Remember if you think of your clients first then you should be right on point. Reach out to them, help them, hold their hand.


As always if you need my help just ask.


By jewelscarter, Sep 18 2015 03:05PM

You are about to be encounter the good times, when your business is at its busiest, products and services fly out of the door and your bank balance begins to swell….so you are excited? Bursting with happiness? Or are you filled with dread?


Although having a full customer base is what it is all about such times can be quite daunting, so here are 5 quick tips to make it through the rush hours without ending up on the rails.


1. Don’t Sweat It – Beat It.


I know it sounds obvious but when you are approaching busy times it is important to have your priorities clear. Make sure you know what you can expect and that you have planned the big stuff, like stock, marketing, order processing etc. This way you know you are in control, so when some little disaster strikes it doesn’t leave you stood in your tracks. If you waste your energy worrying about what might not happen then you won’t have any energy left to deal with what will definitely happen.


2. Make It Easy for Your Customers


I know you are busy but take 5 minutes to think about the buying experience from your customer’s perspective. Do you keep everything your customer may need in a logical way? If they want fish and chips do they have to go to 3 aisles to assemble their one purchase? Do you highlight all your customer will need to use your products? Do you pack it well? Provide gift cards? Is it easy for your customer to pay? Collect? If you make it as easy as possible for your customer they will be happier and this will in turn

make your life easier plus it will increase brand loyalty.


3. Build It Up


This is an easy extension to looking at making it easier to buy from you. Think about who buys your products – what other things do they need? Can you supply any of those or can you team up with someone to supply them? Is there anything you can do to put your products or services into easy packages or even gift packs? This is about adding value to increase your revenue like offering to include batteries, put the fish and chips together in a box, do the manicure with the pedicure etc…Remember it is easier to deal with £100 from 1 customer than 100 customers at £1!


4. Break It Down


If you can be of benefit by lumping things together can you help yourself by offering things separately? Depending upon what you do you could have pick and mix ranges, substitute items or convenient add-ons. It is up to you how creative you get, but make sure your customer is at the heart of your planning and it makes it easier for them.


5. Look After You


I know it is all about your customer and making it easier for them, but this is a busy time and you need to make sure you have the stamina to see it through. Look for ways you can make things easier, streamline and systemise. Consider how you delegate and prioritise. Finally make sure you make some me time, exercise, relax and eat well. There is no point making your bank balance healthy if you are not well enough to enjoy it.


Good luck with your busy time, plan it well and you will have a healthy income and a healthy mind…if you want more help in maximising those sales try the workshop on Monday…..



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