Tag Archives: sales

3 Different Places to Share Your Blog

Customers, friends, and fans are always asking me how to drive traffic to increase blog views, and I love coming up with unique solutions that don’t involve paying advertisement money. Some people like to use money for traffic at first, but I have thrown away good money after bad enough online to know that you need a solid following and an understanding of your blog’s conversion before you drive traffic with paid ads.

share your blog

Get Heard in the Noise

That said, here are 4 quick places I am using to drive traffic to my blog.

  1. Local Facebook Groups – Many people use Facebook groups, but do you use ones that are focused on your location. I am part of many local groups that are smaller, but have great results when I share relevant content with them.
  2. Bloglovin – This is a fun reader that creates a social network around blogs. You can upload your blog there and you can Follow my blog with Bloglovin.
  3. Comment Sections – I know, links in comments are usually no-follow so they don’t help with SEO, but newsflash: comments on other people’s sites are written to other people. Go figure. If your comment is meaningful and relevant to their post, they and their readers will likely check you out. The WordPress dashboard is currently my #3 referrer after Facebook and search engines and ahead of #4, LinkedIn.

These are some ways I draw traffic. What are your favorite online tools for increasing blog views?

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Filed under The Art of Marketing

Who Is Your Ideal Customer?

Whether you call them ideal customer or buyer personas, as a writer, you have companies that you really resonate with. For me, the companies I resonate the most with are those who are looking to grow significantly and need someone who is willing to wear many hats to help them grow.

My ideal customer demographics include some or all of the following points:

  • SMBs – Some people work well with the marketing and issues that large businesses face, I don’t. I love to help small businesses think through their content creation, customer service, and sales as an integrated process. My ideal business is owned by one person or a small group of people, and this business has limited numbers of employees where I can hop on in whatever capacity they need.
  • Specialists – My ideal client is doing something else with their time. Operating online stores, teaching students, selling and managing complex technical packages, all of these activities take my ideal client’s focus off of their marketing. And that is just the way I like it. I want to be able to come alongside clients and give them a service that they do not have time to do while I get to learn about their business, their industry, and their clients. It’s a win for them, and it’s a win for me because I love learning.
  • Sales Professionals – I have sold books door-to-door in Flint, MI. I have sold Yellowbook as book #5 in Jackson Hole, WY. I have sold advertising packages throughout southern Idaho. I also sold pizzas door-to-door and via phone (Delivery drivers are sales people, don’t ya’ know?). I get sales professionals and I build rapport with them quickly. When I am looking for an into a business, it helps to talk t0 the employees who are responsible for closing sales, because content marketing makes their job easier.
  • Personal Connections – My leads have increased exponentially by working in a coworking spot – because I meet and regularly interact with people who are my ideal clients (salespeople, specialists, and small business owners/employees). I make personal connections and increase my customers.
  • English Speakers – Mi Español es no muy malo, tambien. But, I am experienced with writing in English, to English speakers.

These are some of the characteristics that help me decide who I am targeting in my content creation and marketing, and how I work at converting them.

What are the characteristics of the people you do your business for? Do you work with one gender, language group, or nationality? Do you write more than one language fluently? Do you love to talk about fashion but dislike technical writing? All of these questions will help you find a customer who needs your writing.

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Filed under Inbound Sales

7 Reasons Asking for The Close Should Hurt

My motivation for closing sales

Why Every Close Is Worth It

Without contradicting my post on why a service mindset is much more important than closing the sale, I want to delve into more about what it takes to do the close. In technical terms, the close is the moment at which you have legally and practically entered into a business agreement with a customer. For some businesses, this is when you have signed the contract, for retail, it is after a product has been scanned and charged to the customer.

Asking for the close is that gut wrenching moment where you are asking a customer to commit. There are many resources to help a salesperson get over their fear and help a customer decide to purchase, but I want to show that this fear is a good thing, and why an inbound methodology embraces the pain of closing to make a better situation for everyone.

  1. You Are Committing – Fear of commitment is not just for single 30-year-old sitcom characters. Commitment means that you and your client are going to be in a new relationship after coming to an agreement. While this is no big deal for many transactions (There is not that much impact on my relationship to a teller when I buy Reeses), for others, it can mean a long-term business relationship that can entail hundreds, thousands, or even millions of dollars.
  2. You Are Asking Someone To Be Vulnerable – When I offer a solution to someone, they have to admit that they need help in that area before they commit to working with me. Asking for a decision should, therefore, be done with the tenderness towards others vulnerability, and even, to a certain degree, pain.
  3. You Are Being Vulnerable – Closing a sale means that you, as a salesperson or freelancer, are exposing your reputation and honor to the success of this relationship. If the product/service does not work for your customers, at best you will lose a referral, at worse your name will be mud.
  4. Spending Money Hurts – A good salesperson understands and empathizes with their customer. Yes, if you successfully ask for the close you will receive money, but you need to understand the pain that they will be feeling with the decision to spend money. If you understand their pain, you can serve them better.
  5. You Are Exposing Your Entire Marketing/Sales Process – Guess what, no customer has to purchase! This truth can be extraordinarily painful when your cash reserves are low and  new account is the difference between another month late on rent and positive cash flow. As you ask for a commitment to purchase, a customer may say yes, not now, or no. And your job is to serve them regardless of their statement. Ouch.
  6. There Are Others Relying On This Moment – See the picture above. This is from a rather trying time with my daughter; shortly after the photo was taken she received a feeding tube. She is one of three people relying on my ability to get new customers and serve the customers that I have. No matter how much I want to serve my customers, I have to think about the people who I provide for every time I ask a customer to commit. The fear of failure is its own pain.
  7. It’s Nothing Personal, It’s Business – This statement is so patently false, it makes me groan. Whether a customer says yes or no, I am going to feel it, personally. People say this statement to try and keep the pain of “failure” away when someone says yes, but it has a tremendous negative side effect. If you look at people as “business” and not persons, you are losing the capability to bring joy to your business relationships.

Yes, asking someone to commit should have a certain level of fear and pain; you are human after all. The secret to dealing with that pain is not to learn new techniques to convince more people to buy from you or to learn how to brush it off. The secret to dealing with the pain of asking for a sale is to realize that win or lose, the people you are serving are individuals worthy of all the respect and love that you give to your closest friends and family members.

You may not be able to work with this customer or even be friends with them, but that does not limit their worth, or yours. Remember Og Mandino’s famous scroll “I Will Greet This Day With Love In My Heart.”

The bigger the ask, the more fear, nervousness, and pain involved in asking for a commitment. But, it is worth it.

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Filed under Business and Personal Improvement

Why You Should Never Close Another Sale

 

Preparing for Door-To-Door Success!

Preparing for Door-To-Door Success!

Knock, Knock.

Knock, Knock.

Ring-a-ding. Ring-a-ding.

“Hello?”

“Hi, are you the mom of the house?”

“Yeah, wait what’s this about?”

“Ok, great. My name is _____ and I am the student who is in the area helping parents plan their student’s educational success.”

…15 Minutes Later…

“OK. If you just sign here, I’ll get your order in process and be back to deliver your books in a few weeks.”

“Wait, what about______?”

“I totally understand how you feel, ________ down the street felt the same way, but after she realized that these books are __________, she was able to make a decision to purchase that same day. I am trying to meet with all the families in the area, so I do not have the time to keep coming back. So, if you will just sign here…”

I hand her the pen. She signs. It’s a good day.

Every year, thousands of students in multiple industries pou Continue reading

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Filed under Inbound Sales

7 Great Apps for Managing Marketing

If you look at any Google search for business marketing apps, you will see a long list of the newest and greatest, as well as different tools that have nothing to do with fulfilling your needs as a small business owner.

business apps   Google Search

Many of these apps are designed for large departments and enterprise level businesses who need to manage their marketing content on multiple social media channels, who need to manage servers and other hardware, and who have a regular budget for marketing technology.

The following 5 apps are useful for creating content, marketing content, and managing your business marketing online. The great news is they all come with free versions!

Buffer – Small business owners do not have time to be on Facebook all the time. I am building a content and inbound marketing business using social media as a primary marketing channel, and I don’t have time to be on social media all the time. Buffer is a way to get your business in front of your potential customers when they are online, without being there yourself. It is, basically, a post-scheduling app. Use this app to manage multiple accounts in their pro version, and use their photo sharing and editing software (Pablo) to get more bang for your proverbial buck.

Pop-Up Ally – I am just moving my pop-up management from SumoMe to Pop-Up-Ally on WordPress. This pop-up manager is designed to give you complete control over how prospects on your website are turned into leads. You can easily set the pop-up to only come up as they are leaving your site, when they have scrolled to the end of your post, or some other event-based pop-up. There is a free plug-in on WordPress if you do not want to upgrade immediately.

Hootsuite – Hootsuite is the app for managing social media profiles, and the first 3 are free. While Hootsuite has some automation features similar to Buffer, it is geared towards active participation in multiple social media platforms, while Buffer is geared towards setting up automatic updates of your social media profiles.

Canva – Canva is a great resource for finding and sharing photos to social media platforms, within posts, and on other online resources. Since memes drive the internet, any business marketing online needs a great photo editing platform that is integrated online.

Awesome Screenshot – Awesome screenshot is for creating photos that are instructional in nature. You can take any screenshot on your computer and edit it with highlights, pop-out comments, and in-photo texts.

Screen Cast Omatic – This is an essential tool for creating instructional videos, recording webcasts on your desktop and more.

17Hats – Although there are many CRMs out there, 17Hats is designed specifically for small business owners who need to manage more than marketing in their business software. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management software and it is one type of the many business management systems available to streamline business processes, track communication and finances, and generally make life less hectic for busy business owners.

These are 7 apps that I have used for managing various aspects of marketing online, and I hope that you will be able to use them to benefit your business marketing ventures in the near future!

Please leave a comment below about any apps you use for marketing or sales.

 

 

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Filed under Inbound Marketing

Closing Deals By Providing Value

In inbound marketing, your goal is by providing value to your leads throughout the sales process, you lead them to the close and  to become brand advocates. Through your content, you provide them enough information to qualify themselves, understand your services, and make a need-based decision. For legacy salespeople (which I have been in multiple businesses and industries), the goal of any presentation is to “Always Be Closing.” This means that you are always trying to provide incentives, motivation, and tricks to get people to sign the contract.

close through providing value

I heard one sales trainer once say that you should drop your pen so that when the lead picks it up you can just hand them the document and say  “Sign here.” The trainer was joking, I hope.

Inbound Marketing’s Alternative

In inbound marketing, the goal is to provide enough information and value to your prospective clients that they will be able to make an accurate decision and move forward with your service/product without high-pressure or hype. I recently put this into practice in offering a first session free for specific tutoring situations as a valuable service that also gives me and my students a chance to discover if we are a good fit. When it comes to teaching, a good fit is the highest value add you can offer.

A Sample Proposal

Sounds like your boys could really use some help building success in their schooling! As a fanatic reader (I just read an 800 page novel for fun in 3 days), a professional writer, and tutor, I understand the need to connect with children to help them learn to love our written language. Because of that necessary connection, I offer my first reading/writing session free to determine if my style of teaching and relating works with my students’ style of learning.

As you see in this proposal, I am proposing to offer an hour of my time teaching students in order to establish a fit.

No Gimmicks, No Hype

In giving value-laden information, you need to take care to avoid hype and gimmicks in order to get the sale. When I go and meet with a client, I will not always ask for the next session (because sometimes I know the tutoring won’t work). But, a client may not want to go forward with me, and that is OK. Whether you are creating content for someone, providing a service like teaching, or making a virtual or physical product, it is important to provide enough value that they can see the benefit of your service and qualify their own sale.

When I go to a free session, I provide the same service as I do at a paid session. Because, once I sit down with a student, my goal is to see them succeed, not to get a long-term working relationship. In tutoring, long-term relationships are the goal, as they are in writing and many other service industries.

We must remember what makes us excited and passionate about our work. Whether it comes to my writing or my tutoring, my passion is to see others succeed through the work I do.

This is the value of inbound marketing: you can always succeed if you help others meet their goals, and with enough value, your clients will close themselves. Rather than using pressure to succeed, keep providing value to your leads and give them the opportunity to join you in the journey.

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Filed under Inbound Marketing