Market Me First - The Positive Career and Work Action Plan Market Yourself | Make Money | Be Happy
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How to increase Sales
How to increase your Sales the Marketing Me Way
My second quarter this year stunk. I mean bad. It was the equivalent of an extra paycheck.
In the clock punching world, that may be fine, but in the Sales world, that is the kiss of death.
I had tried everything to increase my sales that quarter - cold calling, lowering the price, free shipping, promises I could never keep. Nothing.
So I regrouped. I got out of the office and really thought about ways I could genuinely increase my sales. I took a week off and read a few books and websites on sales and the sales process. I studied companies - especially their ads and advertising strategy. "How did they get sales?"
I realized that "dropping my pants" and bothering customers with unwanted calls was not the answer.
I needed a new approach for attracting customers to my company, my product but more important, to me. In the end, what matters most in sales, is the customer who wants to buy finds YOU and buys from YOU.
Use what works
I had no problem using the Internet to attract and build traffic for ME, but what about for my company? I mean "employees" are not exactly taught to go out and buy a billboard for our company out of our own pocket, are we? That's Marketing's job.
Wrong. This is what sales is about. Sales people can now attract good qualified customers with today's technology and tools. Further, successful sales people are not "employees". They are independent contractors paid for moving other people's merchandise.
Sales people for years have been buying advertising for their own sales. Take realtors and insurance sales people for instance, who buy ads in church bulletins and school yearbooks.
I already had a Google Adwords account. So I created a number of ads for my company and limited them to my territory. Because there was the chance that some potential customers researched products like my company made, at night and on weekends, I went ahead and left my ads viewable during those time periods.
I researched keywords for my ads carefully using Keyword Selector Tool from Yahoo and WordTracker which is a great keyword research tool.
I took advantage of the name recognition of my competitors and used those as keywords as well.
I then considered different variations on my ads and moved text and wording about.
Also, I used the AdWords option for content. Most marketers advise against doing that because content ads often appear where your competition is most likely to click - thereby wasting your money.
But I knew my ads could also be where my competition may not be looking. Like in blogs or press articles.
After my first week with AdWords, I only had received a few clicks. But my ads had appeared in the top 10 or so ad slots more than 700 times! I had the right keywords, just the wrong wording. I changed the ads out and managed to get a few of them to convert in the 5-7% range. Very respectable for a newbie.
Using LinkedIn, Plaxo and others
When I say networking, I mean online networking tools (one of my favorite topics). I changed two of my favorite, LinkedIn and Plaxo, profiles to reflect a more aggressive sales tactic. For instance, I included a description of my top selling product in both profiles. Hopefully, they would attract interest from parts of my network I had not considered.
I also signed up for about a half a dozen other social networking websites and increased my visibility. I joined groups within networking sites to increase my visibility. I actively asked for referrals.
At first, nothing happened. But in the weeks that followed, I started getting requests for information. Sometimes it was to write a brief article about my industry (never turn those opportunities down!) and other times just an email or phone call from an interested company. Nevertheless, people contacted me interested in my product - I did not have to "cold call" or phone spam them!
(Now by "mail" I mean snail mail, post, postal mail, etc. Not email).
I read a great book once called "The Power To Get In" which described ways to build interest for your company or product by sending multiple mail outs to key people within an organization. This way you can create "buzz" within an organization.
Taking this to heart, I created a sales letter and put together a packet of materials on our products. Next, I researched dozens (ultimately over a thousand) companies who might be interested in my product.
Then I concentrated on the names of the key people at a company. Once I knew who the key people were, I dropped them one of my packets. Then I did it again, but this time I changed the sales letter to a follow up letter.
I included a business card as well.
Since these companies were in my territory, if they "Googled" my company, they would see one of my ads. I am now bombarding my prospects with my company name.
The end result, by the end of the year, I had fielded about a half dozen calls and emails from interested parties. This may not seem like a lot, but these are calls from prospects who are interested in what I am selling. One sale more than pays for my time and mailings; two sales pays for some nice Christmas presents!
I don't like dropping emails to individuals who did not ask for my email. I call this spam (you should too). However, I do not have a problem checking company website for mail forms. This forms go directly to sales people, but sometimes they go to the head of Marketing, Sales or even the President.
These forms are invitations into the inner workings of any company and they should be used for general questions which can be turned into leads.
And in the end...
After all those mail outs, ads, profiles and emails what happened?
Well, my fourth quarter (right now) is shaping up to be the best quarter I have had yet. I have done more this quarter in the first two months than I did in the first and second quarter combined!
What worked best? For targeted sales increases, I have to say the mailouts worked the best. For most interesting sales calls, networking was by far the most exciting. Your results will vary, but it is definitely worth it to try new means to increase your visibility and sales.
Until next time..
Posted by JD at 1:11 PM
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