Archive for the ‘Sales skills’ Category

Inbound marketing for small businesses

Inbound marketing for small businesses – that’s the art of getting clients to come to you. When many people think of marketing, they think of pushy salespeople. But that’s more of an old school approach. Many small businesses increasingly pursue inbound marketing techniques that bring clients to them.

With inbound marketing, small businesses – and organizations of all sizes – make it easy for clients to find them and interact with them.

Inbound marketing brings clients and customers in

Instead of pushing your business at customers, inbound marketing puts you and your businesses where those clients are, so that you can start establishing and building a relationship based on trust. Inbound marketing means:

  • Creating and distributing content
  • Developing lifecycle-based marketing and relationship tools for every step of the customer relationship and lifecycle
  • Tailoring and personalizing content to the individuals in your audience
  • Approaching people in the channels where they want to interact, how they want to interact
  • Integrating content and messages throughout all your tools and media
  • Getting permission to keep the relationship going

Inbound marketing examples for small businesses

Some examples of inbound marketing – used by small businesses and even large ones – include:

  • Blogs
  • Articles
  • Whitepapers
  • Videos
  • Presentations
  • Speaking
  • Event marketing
  • Search engine optimization
  • Social media
  • Pay per click advertising
  • Content marketing

Inbound marketing builds trust

With inbound marketing, you provide the information clients need, as they need it, where they need it. By holding out trustworthy, well-developed content, you establish your business as an authority and a brand of trust.

How do you market to your clients?

Related to inbound marketing

7 terrible secrets revealed by your email address (and how to fix them)

When it comes to your personal and business brand, your professional email address may be undoing all your hard work. Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of email addresses – and I’ve had a chance to make observations through the eyes of hiring manager, consultant, client, volunteer and colleague.

Your email address brands you, even when you’re not working

If you want to be professional, you have to think about how your email address represents you. Even if you’re merely using your email address for personal reasons, it’s likely that many members of your business network see your personal address. That’s because everyone you contact becomes a member of your network:
  • Store owner who runs the mailing list for specials
  • Yoga instructor who sends you a mailer on upcoming classes
  • Meetup group you joined and never managed to attend
  • Parent class rep at your kids’ school – and  everyone on the shared contact sheet
  • Dating site people you saw once
  • Parent you met at the park and decided to join for coffee, since you both work in the same industry
  • Friend you met at fitness class, who knows about how to set up that thing on the computer
  • Guy you met at the charity event, who mentioned he could send you a discount code for an event at the art gallery
Most of those people may not profile as “business” or “professional” contacts, per se, but they’re part of your network and thus your professional life. In fact, even if you’re on mat leave, still in college, backpacking, vacationing, parenting, socializing or otherwise wearing your “non-career” hat, the contact you make may influence your future career and business. It’s all marketing and networking.

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7 terrible secrets revealed by common email address mistakes

These common email address mistakes can mar your reputation:
  1. Too flirty. You’ve got some flirty, cutesy or otherwise goofy email address, leftover from college, your Internet dating days or a drunken moment at Gmail - hotsexythang@domainname.com and coolseattleguy@madeupdomain.com.
  2. Shared with your life partner, meaning you have no separate identity, control issues, a domineering partner, computer skills too weak to manage your own account or some other “issue” people dream up – robandjulie@mytownslocalISP.com.
  3. Too generic. You put a date in your address to set you apart – jane2007@gmail.com.
  4. Make you look less than brilliant. Unless you’re flickr, a modified spelling looks like you either created your address in desperation or that you can’t spell – consltnt@gmail.com or propaytner@hotmail.com.
  5. Nonsensical. youcanseetheanswer@gmail.com or rotememoryrobots@yahoo.com.
  6. Unbranded. If you have a business or a professional career, it’s a mistake to use a generic email account, such as Hotmail or Yahoo – newyorkfloriststore@yahoo.com or rsmith.consultant@hotmail.com.
  7. Spam filter nightmare. Many email filters are set up to look for numbers, underscores, and superlative adjectives. Even if you can handle the branding issues, your email may end up in the junk mail bin – angela_coopersmith1980@gmail.com.  

5 remedies for common email address mistakes

Relax – there are several solutions for typical email address mistakes:

  1. Get your own email account, if you’re sharing one. Your ISP and gmail offer a variety of options. Click here for my preferred provider – I’m an affiliate
  2. Change the name of your existing email account. Your ISP may help you. Or you can easily set up a new Gmail account.
  3. Set up additional profiles if you use Microsoft Outlook.
  4. Forward all your email to the account you check most, if you don’t know how to set up more than one profile on Outlook or your smartphone.
  5. Purchase a domain name and set up an email address to match. You can do this even if you do not run your own business. Consider jane@realestatemagic.com or dsmith@atlantabanker.com, for example. Click here for my preferred provider – I’m an affiliate.

It gets even worse

I wrote this article on common email address mistakes because of a random discovery on LinkedIn. For years, I’ve recoiled in mock horror upon seeing women sharing their husband’s email addresses. But then I saw something that shocked me even more. For whatever reason, it seemed even worse than the usual email address mistakes. I saw a husband and wife sharing a single LinkedIn account. It made no sense to me. Why would you share a career profile on a virtual resume site? It boggles my mind. But more on LinkedIn (and Twitter) later.
What deadly email address mistakes have you spotted? What tips do you have?
 Note: all email address given are fictitious and were generated for the purposes of this article. No connection to a real living or dead person or existing or closed business is made or implied. Any connection is purely coincidental.

 

Making a great first impression

Making a great first impression can make a big difference to your career. This guest post by Tim Grayling gives you 10 tips for making sure that first impression counts in your favour.

When it comes to landing the job of your dreams, enough can not be said about first impressions. Your education and job experience are a necessity when applying for the perfect job. These two factors are paramount, simply in giving you the opportunity to show why you are uniquely fit for the job you desire. Once you have secured a job interview the position is ultimately yours for the taking. All that is left is for to make and outstanding great impression on the person interviewing you. Keep in mind a few simple tips and you can ensure that you are viewed in a positive light; positioned to be the candidate of choice when it comes to the final hiring decision.

  1. Always be prepared. Plan ahead for your interview. There is a good chance that the person interviewing you already has a copy of your resume and a list of references; all the same, bring those along yourself just in case. Plan to discuss how your formal education has helped to make you uniquely qualified for the position you are applying for. Contemplate what makes you stand out.
  2. Dress for success. When choosing what to wear for your interview keep in mind the type of job that you are applying for. Generally speaking, it is best to dress as you would if you where already an employee. While you may look amazing in a tuxedo or in a formal evening dress, this is probably not the best choice when applying for a banker position. Conversely, what impression would be made if you showed up to that very same interview wearing a t-shirt and jeans? Know the job setting, and dress accordingly.
  3. Be on time. The very first impression that you will make to your prospective employer is that of your punctuality. Plan to arrive ten minutes early for your interview. You want to be appropriately early, not too early. Showing up for an interview too early is nearly as damaging to your first impression as showing up late.
  4. Make eye contact. While being interviewed, make certain to maintain positive eye contact. This is not to say that it is a good thing to coldly stare at your prospective employer. Rather, when speaking, maintain eye contact with your interviewer. This conveys a level of sincerity behind your words.
  5. Open body language. There is far more to a conversation than the words you choose. The way you present yourself will have a huge impact on the how you are perceived. Avoid closing your body off, for example, crossing your arms or sitting turned away from your interviewer. These subtle gestures will nearly unconsciously close down any open lines of communication.
  6. Courtesy goes a very long way. No matter what happens during your interview always maintain appropriate, professional, courtesy. How we maintain ourselves during an interview says a lot about our character. Make sure that you are conveying a message of respectful confidence at all times.
  7. Take your time. When answering questions do not feel as though you have to produce an immediate and rapid response. Take a few seconds to think about the question. This will not only improve the quality of your answers and it will demonstrate that you are taking the interview question seriously.
  8. Do not talk money. When it comes to an interview, it is generally best never to bring up money. Before you stepped into the interview, you in all likelihood had a general idea of what the position would pay. Conversely, so does the person interviewing you. Realistically, no great gain is to be had when discussing compensation early on. There is a time and a place for everything. Once a hiring decision has been made, that is generally when this subject will arise. This is not to say that the subject is completely off limits during an interview; it is simply best practice not to be the one to bring it up.
  9. Do not forget to smile. Smiling is a basic human response. It generally conveys a sense of conformability. During your interview, make sure to put a little grin on your face. This shows your potential employer that you are at ease. When you are comfortable, there is a good chance that the person interviewing you will be comfortable as well.
  10. Parting words. Upon the conclusion of your interview, make certain to thank the interviewer. You have just been given a portion of that person’s time so that they could access your qualities. Thank them for this valuable opportunity and show that their gift was not wasted on you.

When it comes to getting the job of your dreams, making a lasting, positive first impression is of the utmost importance. Follow these 10 tips on making a great first impression and the interview process for you, will be one of ease.

This article was written by Tim Grayling on behalf of OnlineMBA.com which serves as an online resource for those seeking the best online MBA.

Have the confidence to see yourself as an expert

Have the confidence to see yourself as an expert. When thinking about whether to become an independent consultant, you may wonder whether you can really bill yourself as an expert.

Don’t get bogged down in the concept of being the absolutely best. Understand that there will always be someone who knows more than you about your industry. But you certainly know more than most people, and that’s what your clients value about you–to your clients, you are an expert. Have the confidence to see yourself as an expert.

For example, as a jury consultant, you know more about jury behaviour than almost all of the population. True, there may be a superstar jury consultant who has more experience than you, but you know a lot. Be confident and focus on what you do know.

The key is to have the confidence to see yourself as an expert by building your expert status in concrete ways. Wondering how? Subscribe to Consultant Journal’s newsletter and receive Six Tips for Jumpstarting Your Expert Status when you sign up.

Above all, you’ve got to have the confidence to see yourself as an expert. Have confidence in yourself and your clients will too.  Are you confident enough to consult?

Your confidence will grow over time. Give your confidence a boost and start building your expert status now.

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Mary Kastle – special offer for Consultant Journal readers

We love Mary Kastle, who we’ve profiled several times on this site. The musician and musical entrepreneur is back with a new CD on the Black Hen label.

Special offer for Consultant Journal readers
If you write a review of Mary Kastle’s CD, Beneath the Folds, on your blog or website and repost it on her iTunes or CD Baby page, she’ll send you a free album. You can download three tracks on the Mary Kastle music page or contact Mary if you want to hear the full album in digital format. Your post, which can be negative or positive or neutral, needs to be at least 75 words long and be posted on Mary’s iTunes page here: http://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/beneath-the-folds/id373901914 or her CD Baby page here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/marykastle1, so that people can judge for themselves too. Once you’ve made the post, contact Mary and she’ll hook you up with a signed copy of the new album as a gift for you.
 

Beneath the Folds

“A little bit of folk, a little bit of jazz and a lot of soul,” is the way Kastle describes the musical mix on an album that includes reggae, bossa nova, swing, gospel, and a pinch of piano bar vibe from her years of playing jazz and pop standards in lounges. With the groove as her signature, Kastle’s versatile palette has evoked comparisons to other soulful songsmiths such as Norah Jones, Stevie Wonder, and Tori Amos.
 

About Mary Kastle’s new album

Consistent with the writing on her two previous EPs, Fresh Air and Another Swing, Kastle’s propensity for exploring themes around self expression and inner growth comes through loud and clear on Beneath the Folds, but with a newfound directness. “Early on in the writing process, a close friend challenged me to be more direct in my songwriting, both lyrically and musically. The result was a shift in my approach and a deeper appreciation for what I had to offer as a musician. Some of the first songs that came, like “Drop Your Cover,” are about letting your guard down and just being yourself. I found the blues and some really old-school gospel forms to be quite conducive to expressing those ideas.”
Kastle’s inspired mix of new and old musical forms also coincided with a major shift in the world around her. “Bush was leaving office and Obama was coming in, and there was a lot of hope and disappointment being felt simultaneously. Around me people were losing their jobs and many of the women I was observing were struggling with tough decisions like striking a balance between career vs. family. This is reflected in the subtext in songs like “Beggin’,” “Julia,” “Fortress” and “False Alarm.” The stories are personal, but they also mirror big picture political and social shifts.”
 

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Marketing for counsellors – counsellors need marketing too

Marketing for counsellors may seem like an uncomfortable area for many people used to being in a helping profession. But counsellors can succeed with marketing based on their values, just like any other consultant or small business owner can.

Counsellors’ marketing needs

Counsellors and consultants are alike in that they need to determine their unique position in the market, work out the best way of connecting with clients, and then build a profitable, sustainable business. Word of mouth is key, but a good marketing plan can help you work out how to generate and sustain the power of referrals. Knowing what business would work for you and what your values are, planning your business, and setting fees are common to counsellors and consultants alike.

As with many licensed professions, counsellors also need to examine the rules and criteria set out by their professional associations. Of course, in reviewing your values, this also comes up.

If you’re looking to market your counselling business, the following articles may help:

Marketing tips

Start thinking about holiday cards

Even though the holidays are still some time away, it’s never too early to start planning. Holiday cards or Christmas cards can form an important part of your marketing plans. That’s because holiday cards offer you the chance to build on your relationships with customers, prospects, vendors and other contacts. To avoid disappointment, though, you should start thinking about ordering and organizing your holiday card plans now.

Check out our past posts on holiday cards:

You might also be interested in Christmas jobs.

 

 

 

Why you hate cold calls

Hate cold calls? So do lots of successful business owners. Despite what some people might say, you can build a great business without ever making a cold call.

There’s a reason so many people hate cold calls. That’s because, most of the time, it involves calling people you don’t know, interrupting their busy days, and trying to build a relationship with them. And what kind of relationship starts with intimidation, unwelcome interruption and your lack of desire to be involved? Not one most people would want, that’s for sure.

It makes far more sense if you build relationships with people in incremental steps before doing something so bold as calling them. Start by indentifying people you suspect may be in your market. Work on turning them into likely prospects and nurturing them through your pipeline. That way, when you do call them, they’ll know who you are, what you do and why they need you. And they’re much more likely to be receptive and willing to buy.

How to find prospective clients

Life would be a lot easier if clients lined up to buy from you. So why not build a pipeline of potential clients and turn them into raving fans? Once you’ve identified people you suspect may want to buy from you, work on strategies and campaigns to get those people to turn into prospects.

Put some effort into finding prospects. By building relationships with people who stand a good chance of fitting your criteria for becoming a lead or client, you’re more likely to do business with those people.

Your best source of new work

Believe it or not, your best source of new work is something you already have. And if you mine this existing resource, you’ll be on the road to success. In fact, most successful consultants turn to this marketing goldmine to keep their busy practices growing. What’s the secret?

Your existing customers, contacts and fans!

That’s right — the secret to your consulting success is in the relationships you’ve already built, not in some sort of secret lead generation tactic. After all, the clients who’ve already bought into your offering are already on your side. And they’re the people most likely to buy again, buy more or tell their friends and colleagues about the amazing work you do. In fact, even a happy low value client is better than someone who signs on for a one-off project that pays 10 times as much.

Look at it this way. Say you’re doing a $500 job for a very delighted client three or four times a year. Small potatoes, right? And you get a call from a prospective client who’s offering up a one-time $5,000 job. Which is the better job?

Well, if the small potatoes client buys from you over and over, you’ll likely make $7,500 to $10,000 in the next five years — and they may help you land other clients. In fact, if they sell their own contacts on your successes, it may be easier to win those contacts than the ones you turn up yourself. Meanwhile, that $5,000 client isn’t such a hot deal if you never do work for them again.

Of course, in a best case scenario, you make both clients so happy that they buy over and over and rave about you to their networks. So what are you doing to build a network of raving fans?

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