Marketing Ideas and Sales Strategies
Has your business fallen on hard times? What can you do when customers stop buying? That's a question many small businesses are having to ask themselves this year. Here are 28 business survival strategies you can use to get through difficult times.
Starting a business on a shoestring? Looking for ways to stretch your small business marketing budget? Marketing a business doesn't have to cost a lot. Here are 42 low-cost, high-impact methods to advertise and promote your business.
What marketing ideas work for small businesses? What strategies can you use to get customers to notice you and bring you their business? Here are 36 ideas to help you reach your target market without spending a fortune.
Don't let business card mistakes cause your cards to be discarded. Make your business cards more effective by avoiding these 12 common mistakes.
Customer retention is important to the success of your small business. Apply these customer retention strategies in your business to build loyalty and keep customers coming back.
How big should your business card be? Business cards are an important part of your marketing and they can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. What sizes are standard? And what size card should you use? Find out here.
No matter what your job title is, you're in sales. And even though nobody likes the idea of being "sold," everyone does it. Here are four tips to help you embrace your inner salesperson.
Finding new customers is expensive and time-consuming, but necessary if you want your business to grow. Use these nine strategies to make sure you're going after the right ones.
What’s killing business for traditional retailers? Consumers are skipping them and finding better ways to satisfy their needs. The retailers who are winning are those who improve the experience of acquiring goods and services for the customer. Here’s what you need to know.
To grow a successful career or business, you need a good network. These four tips can help minorities build that network.
What kind of connector are you? Do you naturally make lots of connections with the people around you or do you tend to be uncomfortable with it? Take this quiz and find out what your style is.
Just because you're an introvert doesn't mean you can't be successful at networking. The trick for anyone, whether introverted or not, is to find your natural and preferred style of networking.
Competitive analysis is as important for a small business as it is for big businesses, and it’s easy to do. You can keep tabs on your competitors by using these 15 tactics to gather and analyze information about them.
Word of mouth marketing is an effective and inexpensive way to bring in business. Getting a recommendation about your business from a friend or acquaintance can be the confidence booster potential customers need. Here are 21 ways to generate great word of mouth for your small business.
Which digital marketing tactics are working for small businesses today? Read what experts say to help you decide which online marketing options to use in your business.
Referrals are an invaluable source of new customers for small businesses. When a friend or colleague recommends your business, the selling is already done for you. Here's how you can encourage existing customers to give you referrals and good reviews online.
What marketing strategies work for small businesses today? What are the best ways to get customers to know about your business, contact you, or make a purchase? Here are 29 marketing strategies that work for small businesses.
Saying "thank you" is a simple marketing strategy that can make your business stand out from the competition. But just printing it on your receipt and even saying it face to face isn't enough. Here's a way you can say "thanks" that'll make a lasting impression.
Today, enterprise organizations are attempting to use managerial mechanisms from previous ages to direct software delivery in this one. IT and software delivery costs have been growing for decades, yet our organizations do not have adequate visibility or understanding of what is now one of the largest costs of doing business.
Don't think that customer is interested in a high tech product because she's an older woman? Or another couldn't possibly be in the market for a minivan because he's a single man? Here's why labeling customers is costing you sales.
You've only got 15 seconds to make a first impression, and that's why your elevator pitch needs to be even shorter than it already is. Here are five tips for writing the perfect 15-second elevator pitch.
How can you make your sales brochures better marketing tools? How do you write copy that gets your business brochures, pamphlets and flyers read and gets customers to respond? Use these 14 copywriting and brochure design tips to create effective sales literature.
Are your sales campaigns chasing the wrong prospects? You may need to change your strategy. Make your sales efforts more successful by asking these three questions before your staff chases that next big sale.
Customer policies are important to protect you from those few customers who might try to take advantage. But are they costing you money? Flexible policies might invite the occasional opportunist, but they'll garner plenty of goodwill and repeat business, too.
If you're not leveraging your existing customers, you're losing out on a low-cost source of new business. Here are eight ideas for getting more business from your current customers.
Do you get the feeling sometimes that your customers don't like you? It might not be your imagination! Here are the top 7 reasons customers dislike salespeople.
Most business owners are too close to their businesses to see the mistakes they are making. Don’t expect the customers to tell you either. Try this to see your business through your customers' eyes.
Are you dissatisfied with your business sales? Belief in any of these 4 sales myths could be limiting your sales.
Price objections can take you off guard, especially when you thought the sale was closed. Find out the real reason customers sometimes think your prices are too high.
Want to improve your negotiation skills and learn how to start from a winning position? Here are seven ways you can give yourself a head start in any negotiation.
Confused about how to advertise your business? Here are 9 steps for planning an effective advertising strategy and choosing the best places to advertise your business.
Your existing customers are essential to your business' continued success. Be careful that what you and your employees say to them doesn't make them want to leave. Here are seven things you should never say to customers.
You don't have to be a marketing professional to come up with good marketing strategies for your business. You just need to think outside the box. Here's how to do it.
What makes your brand special? What makes it stand out? Figure out which of these 12 brand archetypes your business falls into so you can market your business better.
Spotting a trend ahead of the competition can give you a big leg up. But how do you recognize a trend is before it develops? Here are five ways you can spot trends while they are still on the horizon.
Every business owner wants to have loyal customers that love their business. But if you want loyalty, you have to give it. Commit yourself to excellence in these five key areas and your customers will reward you with their repeat business and dedication.
Are you selling as much as you should be? If you're missing your sales goals, you or your employees may be making one or more of these 5 fatal sales mistakes.
Segmentation is one way to build your brand, but the best way is to identify your ideal, perfect customer and base your branding on that. Here are five reasons you should focus on finding your unicorn customer from branding expert Deb Gabor.
Advertising your small business is expensive. How do you know which ads are working and which ads aren't? Use these tips to find out so you don't waste money.
Making that first sales appointment with prospects is the hardest part of selling. Between not knowing who to call and gatekeepers blocking the way, just getting the right person on the phone can seem impossible. These strategies can help you get your foot in the door.
Misunderstandings and miscommunication are bound to happen with clients, but it's how you handle them that's important. No matter who's at fault, these are the three areas you should address when clearing up a problem with your client.
There is tons of advice telling entrepreneurs to use in-person networking to build their businesses. But, in many cases, for one reason or another, owners make a hash of it. This article shares a surprising and effective networking technique used by 7-figure entrepreneur and co-founder of Examine.com, Sol Orwell.
When you find new avenues to reach customers, you gain exposure to a whole new market you might have otherwise missed. Here are six places you can sell your products or services that you may not have thought of before.
Sometimes consulting prospects just need an extra push to get them to sign on for your services. Here are four things you can try to quickly turn prospects into paying customers.
Small business owners who struggle with marketing can improve their results by learning the top two reasons marketing efforts fail--and developing a plan to address both.
In very small businesses the owner and business are one and the same. So, when you're marketing your business, you're really marketing yourself - but that isn't easy for everyone. Here's advice for getting better at selling yourself and your business.
Owning a business doesn't make you a natural salesperson, yet selling is the most important thing you'll do in your business. Here are tips to improve your selling skills.
Price is often the primary consideration when customers make a purchase, but cutting prices isn't the best way to compete. Here's how you can add value to your products so you can avoid discounting.
Festivals, business expos, health fairs, and other community events are all good opportunities to promote your business locally. These tips will help you make the most of your booth or table.
Getting customers is expensive, so once you've won them, you want to be sure you keep them for the long haul. Keep an eye out for these seven tell-tale signs that a customer is about to leave so you can resolve their problem before it's too late.
Selling is difficult enough, but you can't even start selling until you're talking to the right person. So how do you connect to decision-makers? How can you get in touch with people who have the authority to make purchases? These ideas can help.
Once you get good testimonials from satisfied customers, you need to put them to work. Here are the best places to use testimonials so potential customers will be assured that your business is one they can trust.
Testimonials from happy customers can be a powerful marketing tool for your business. Testimonials give prospects reassurance that your company is the one they should buy from. This article shows you how to get those testimonials so you can put them to work.
Nothing is worse than wasting a ton of time and effort on a client who ends up not doing business with you. Here's how you can tell in advance which prospects aren't going to pan out before you've invested too much time with them.
Looking for ways to increase sales? Here are five different types of marketing campaigns you can run that will bring in customers and generate new sales.
Your competition isn't just the business across town that sells similar items as your business. There are other types of competitors your business faces that aren't quite so obvious. Find out what they are, and how to beat all of them, here.
Most businesses face a sales slump during the summer months. These six ideas can help you bring in more customers during slow months and combat seasonal income fluctuations.
A lot of different things go into building a successful business, but one tactic that will serve you throughout the life of your business is networking. Here's how one entrepreneur has used networking to build his business from the very beginning.
If you want to get your prospects’ attention, make an emotional connection and be remembered, harnessing the power of storytelling is your best bet. Learn how to use storytelling to grow your small business.
Getting new customers for your business is hard work, but it's necessary if you want to be successful. Here are 10 ways you can get the attention of new prospects and turn them into loyal customers.
You want your hard-won customers to be happy and to come back again and again. Get repeat sales by letting them know you value them with these 8 simple tips.
How do you put together a press kit? What should go in your press kit? Whether you make it available online or have your press kit printed - or both - these are the basic elements you should include in it.
The thing about marketing successfully is you have to work at it consistently, even when business is slow and you don't want to spend the money. If you master these five fundamental marketing strategies, your business will prosper.
Should you advertise your business in the newspaper or a local magazine? Print advertising is still a good way to market. Use these 6 tips to be sure you get the most for your money.
Want to build a list for text message marketing? Getting customers to sign up to receive offers from you via text message is almost as simple as letting them know that they can.
Make sure your marketing efforts are productive. Use this marketing plan worksheet to plan your marketing strategy whether you're a startup or existing business. It will help you know who your customers are and make your marketing efforts more successful.
How can you get customers to spend more money with you? Use these six tips to increase your average sale, encourage repeat business, and get more from your existing customers.
Direct mail is more affordable than ever with Every Door Direct Mailing (EDDM) from the US Postal Service. And, EDDM makes it easy to target the exact neighborhood your business needs to reach. Here's a step-by-step guide for using EDDM to market your business.
A slogan makes your brand more recognizable and memorable, but writing a catchy slogan isn't easy. Follow these steps for help creating a slogan for your business.
Whether you're new to running a business or have had one for years, understanding the difference in types of marketing and how you use them can help you be more successful.
Businesses that are thriving and growing have a steady flow of repeat and referred customers. And they get those customers by attracting them rather than pursuing them. Learn their secret to attracting clients here.
Why should customers notice your business? What makes you different from your competition? Here's how you can make your business stand out and get your customers' attention.
How can you become an expert? Will reading about a topic or industry make you an expert? Here's the low down on what it really takes to become an authority in your field.
Certification as a small business, socio-economic disadvantaged business, woman-owned business, veteran-owned business, or some combination of those can give you an edge in bidding on contracts with the government and with prime contractors who sell to the government. Here's the scoop.
What's the trick to finding the right mix of sales techniques and skills? Which ones, when combined, will win the most sales and customers? Here are the top five sales techniques you should use.
You’ve heard that the best way to gain access to someone in a high position is to know somebody who knows somebody. But, if you’re relying on this to technique to network with the people you’d most like to meet, you’re holding yourself back. Try this strategy instead.
Sales objections are a fact of life when you're in business, and how you handle them can determine whether your business struggles or thrives. Here are 15 tips to help you overcome sales objections more easily.
Does your idea of “networking” involve nursing a drink in the corner while your more gregarious colleagues mix, mingle, wheel, and deal? Whether you consider yourself an introvert, socially awkward, or just a networking newbie, fear not. Here are 11 tips to help you connect more confidently and take your business to the next level.
What is the objective of your advertising? Getting someone to call you? Building name recognition? Promoting a particular product - or your entire business? Here's why defining your advertising goals is important to its success.
What's the difference between businesses that grow and those that never get much beyond the startup stage? In a word, persistence. Here's how you can take inactive former prospects and turn them into buying customers.
Showing customers that you care doesn't have to be costly. Here are five ways you can thank your customers and earn their loyalty without breaking the bank.
Coupons are often used to attract new customers and entice old customers to come back. At first glance, offering coupons might seem like a great idea. Before you begin discounting, consider these pros and cons.
No matter what you're negotiating for, the techniques you use are the same. If you want to come out on the winning end, be sure you ask these seven questions during negotiations.
Just telling your customers they are valued isn't enough. You have to prove it to them. Use these 10 tips to make your customer service stand out.
Knowing your target market is the best way to be sure your advertising dollars are spent wisely and that the products and services you sell are actually what your customers want or need. Here are six things to help you identify your target market.
Do you have a public relations plan in place for your business? If not, you're missing a huge opportunity to win name recognition and customers. Here's what your PR plan should look like.
Now that the holiday shopping season is over, what can you do to help your business thrive? Here are five areas you should evaluate and tips for keeping your business healthy during the slow season.
Small business owners who feel stuck when it comes to lead generation can use these 12 ideas to find new ways to get more clients.
Are you missing your sales goals? Find out if you or your employees are making any of these sales-killing mistakes.
Selling your goods through a consignment shop gives you another avenue to reach customers. Here are a few tips on finding a good consignment shop and working with them.
A sales funnel is the pathway that captures sales prospects and moves them from awareness of your product to interest, desire and ultimately the sale. Here’s the way to create a sales funnel for your company.
How can you win back customers after they've been disappointed by your product or customer service? Here are 3 solutions that work to regain customer loyalty and confidence.
Are you marketing to millennials? If not, you're missing a $600 billion market in the US alone. Use these tips to understand and sell to millennials and boost your bottom line.
Although the Internet has forever changed the way businesses advertise, you can still market your business with old school offline marketing methods and get results. Here are seven offline marketing tactics you should give another chance.
Want a bigger piece of the pie? One sure way to grow your business and increase your market share is by coaxing away your competition's customers.
Running a special offer to attract customers? If you want your promotion to be a success, you need to get your offer in front of prospects who are interested in it. These 10 tips can help.
Giving out promotional products is a great way to keep your name in front of past and potential customers. Use this advice to choose the best way to use promotional items for marketing your business.
Spreading the word about your business necessitates a bit of self-promotion, a smidge of bragging, and a lot of rubbing elbows with different people. Here's how to work your network without alienating everyone around you.
Government contracting seem too complicated for your small business to try? It's a huge potential source of income, so don't be too quick to disqualify yourself. Here's what you need to know to get started in government contracting.
You work hard to attract customers, but sometimes they just quit coming back. Lost and inactive clients still have potential, even when you haven't heard from them in months or years. Here are six things you can do to get those lost customers buying again.
Your total sales may be on target, but are all the members of your sales team meeting their goals? Here’s why it’s important and what you need to do if some salespeople are underperforming.
Remaining one step ahead of your competitors is essential to the success of any business, regardless of size or niche, due to the fierce competition evident in today’s crowded marketplaces. Defining your USP or Unique Selling Proposition is a major part of this process.
Price, features, quality - these are all things that are a part of your customer's buying decision. Their first consideration, however, is trust. Here's how you can establish trust with your customers.
It may seem like small businesses trying to compete with big box stores are fighting an uphill battle, but in reality, there are many things that can make smaller businesses more appealing to customers than their big corporate competition.
Don't like selling? Many business owners don't, but your success depends on it. Here's how you can get the sale without actually selling.
Small businesses have many advantages over large corporations, but they can still benefit from taking steps to make themselves look a little more like big businesses. Here are 8 things you can do to make your small business look bigger.
What are the biggest marketing challenges small businesses face? Finding customers is always a tough task, but what about other things like fighting the competition and just having enough money in the budget for marketing?
Sometimes the truth is hard to hear. The way B2B companies approach innovation is deeply flawed (dare we say “downright dumb”?). Find out what so many are doing wrong-and get insights on how to engage your customer in a way that gets buy-in on those bright ideas right from the start.
How you handle unhappy customers in your restaurant will determine whether they leave satisfied or angry enough to tell all their friends and family. Use these tips to turn dissatisfied customers into happy ones.
There are seven common selling myths that can trip up any salesperson. Whether you've developed your own preconceived notions or have bought into other sales people's misconceptions, believing these myths can hurt your ability to sell. Find out what they are here.
Networking doesn't come naturally to everyone. If you find it awkward, try these seven strategies to make networking more enjoyable and profitable.
When the phone rings, are you annoyed at the interruption? The way you and your employees answer the phone sets the stage for your customers' experience with you. Here are five tips for ensuring your phone skills give a good impression.
Even though we all know we need to sell our products and services, many people are fearful or anxious about actually doing so. These 10 tips can help you shift out of fear and into excitement about selling your product or service.
When marketing your business, you need to do more than just attract customers. To be effective, you also need to focus on conversion and retention.
Customer service training is great - if you can remember to consistently apply what you've learned. One way to make sure you and your staff don't forget the basics of great customer service is to follow a series of steps like these each and every time.
Want to improve your sales skills? Great salespeople have several habits in common. Learn what they are and make them part of your routine to become a better salesperson.
Networking is one of the best ways to market your business, but not everyone is a natural. Use these ten tips to make your business networking more effective.
Business cards are still a valuable marketing tool for your business. These seven tips can help you design a professional business card that will help customers remember you.
How can you build your B2B sales? The answer isn't to work harder on your pitch. It’s to become a trusted adviser. Here’s how to do it.
Networking events can be a great source of ideas for how to grow your business. In fact, they can offer you so many new ideas that you can't keep up with them all. Here are five steps to help you make the most of business networking events.
Good customer service doesn't end when the product is delivered. If you don't want to risk losing your customers to the competition, you have to be proactive about regularly following up and addressing their needs.
To keep your doors open, you need to keep a steady flow of customers coming through those doors. Follow these eight steps to attract more new customers to your business.
Not following up with your prospects and customers is the same as filling up your bathtub without first putting the stopper in the drain! Here's how to create a follow-up system for your business so you get more sales with less effort.
Launching a new product or a new marketing initiative can raise the awareness of your company. Here are steps to take to help ensure the success of the launch.
Looking for an inexpensive way to get the word out about your business? The media - bloggers, newspapers, radio, and television - are always looking for unique stories to share with their audiences. Here's how you can get their attention.
The more information you have from your customers, the better. Here are six ways to get feedback so you know what customers think of your business.
Want to beat the competition and have more customers choose your business? Here are three things you can do to make your business stand out from your competitors.
Want to see your small business sales skyrocket? A strategic sales plan is your map to more sales and profits.
How can you get customers to return to your business? How can you stand out from competitors in a crowded retail environment? One secret is to focus on a niche and build up a cachet. Here's how.
The success of a retail business often hinges on how well its sales staff relates to the different types of people that walk through the doors. Here are the four basic personality types of retail customers and some tips on how to deal with each one.
One of the latest small business marketing strategies is SMS marketing. Marketing with text messages lets you reach customers wherever they are, without busting your small business budget.
Virtually every person who enters your business has this question in their mind. To truly maximize your revenues you need to give people a reason to buy from you versus a competitor. These strategies can help you differentiate yourself from your competition.
Webinars are one of the most affordable ways to market your product or service. Use these pointers to produce a webinar that is effective and successful.
If you're thinking about developing a marketing program, you need to begin with a marketing plan. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be complicated in order to work. Here are the ten basic parts of a marketing plan.
A flyer is an inexpensive and highly effective way to grab attention in a very busy marketplace. How do you make your flyer stand out in the crowd? Here are some techniques that professional designers use to make flyers pop.
If you think your customers exist solely to “buy your stuff,” you’re missing a huge part of the picture. Bill Lee, author of The Hidden Wealth of Customers, says your customers are uniquely equipped to influence your product development, sing your praises, and even close sales for you. He describes seven things they can do better than you.
Following up with networking contacts after a networking event is important if you want to turn those prospects into paying customers. Here are five simple strategies for following up.
Retailers that depend on seasonal shoppers have a particularly challenging job when it comes to inventory management. If you don't have enough inventory you lose sales; too much and you lose money to markdowns and clearance. Here's a seven-step process you can use to plan your inventory needs in advance.
Whether your customer buys from you or from the competition depends on how good your presentation is. Here are 7 steps you can take to make sure your sales presentation does what it needs to do to win the sale.
Today's technology provides small businesses with dozens of marketing options that weren't available in the not-too-distant past. Staying on top of them all, let alone learning to use any of them effectively can be a full-time job. Here's how you can figure out which methods are best for your business.
Media coverage can bring new business your way. But, how do you get the media to talk about your business in the first place? Start by sending them a press release. This article shows you the secret to writing press releases that get the media's attention.
Small businesses don't have the luxury of being able to test numerous marketing campaigns since they are usually working with a very tight budget. Here are several ways small businesses can improve their marketing techniques without spending a lot of money.
Networking is one marketing idea that is well worth the time and effort. If it's not working well for you, you could be making one of these five business networking mistakes.
How do you come across when you talk with customers through your website or Facebook page? Here are five social media tips to help small business owners humanize their company’s virtual image.
Are you spending too much time on marketing? Do you spend long hours at networking meetings, posting to social media sites, and making phone calls without bringing in new business or increasing sales and profits? Click the image on the left to find out how to get better small business marketing results with less effort.
CRM - customer relationship management - is essential for any business needing to keep track of their customers. Here's a guide to choosing the right CRM software for your business.
Quality is most definitely a point your customers consider before buying from you. So how do you convince them that your business provides the best quality service or product out there? Here's how to play the "q-card" in your marketing.
Attending networking events is still a great way to meet potential customers, but how you go about it has changed. In fact, some networking techniques that were popular just a few years ago will get you nowhere at today's networking functions. Here are three networking mistakes you should avoid.
Think about what you say when talking with current and potential customers. What are you saying that offends buyers? Here are ten of the most common language blunders and suggestions for what to say instead.
In today’s tough economy, small business owners are faced with the difficult task of doing much more with a lot less. Ed Hess reminds them that even though they might be making cuts to their prices and budgets, now is not the time to start cutting great customer service out of their business plans.
Most advertising is focused on how great or useful a product is. But telling customers your product is awesome doesn't make them believe it. Here's a different kind of marketing strategy that can give your advertising credibility
You will eventually have to deal with an unhappy client no matter how good your customer service is. Whether you made a mistake or they're just having a bad day, these five tactics can help you handle difficult customers.
Marketing a service isn't the same as marketing products. Your relationship with customers is more important, so building those relationships has to take priority. Here is a seven-step model you can follow to successfully market professional services.
Small businesses don't have the luxury of being able to test numerous marketing campaigns since they are usually working with a very tight budget. These five tips can help small businesses improve their advertising techniques without spending a lot of money.
Is it time to change your sales techniques? Here are 14 signs your sales pitches have become dull and lifeless.
Do you find self-promotion embarrassing? Does it feel like you're bragging? Not all businesspeople are comfortable telling others how fantastic their product or service is. Here are 7 marketing techniques that help you promote your business without bragging.
What are your business's core values? Whatever they are, they drive your company's culture and, in the end, your sales and profits. Learn how to define and communicate your company's core values and how to use them to drive performance.
Looking for ways to reach your customers via mobile? First, you have to prove to them that what you're sending is something they want. Here are six ways you can provide value to your customers through mobile marketing.
It's common wisdom that it costs less to keep existing customers than to find new ones, but how much effort do you really put into making sure your current customers are happy? Here are seven things you can do to build customer loyalty.
Although the media is constantly bombarding us with bad news about the economy, people are still buying stuff. It's your job to make sure your products are the ones they are buying. Here's how you can do that.
By planning your business marketing well, you can get better results out of it. Here are four steps to increasing your customer base and sales without spending more money.
Is your website helping you market your business and attract new sales? If not, here are 10 ways to make your website bring in more business.
Closing the sale is the most dreaded part of the sales process for many salespeople for two reasons: fear of rejection and not knowing how to ask for the sale. Here are some suggestions to help with both of those sales closing problems.
When you started your business, it was probably so you could make money doing what you enjoy. But all too often, entrepreneurs end up taking on clients and jobs that help pay the bills but are not exactly what you want to be doing. Here are four ways you can get back to working with your ideal customers and make a good living doing it.
Do you know what sets your business apart from your competition - what one thing that would make customers want to buy from you rather than the other guy? Here's why you need to define your business's competitive advantage.
The sales call went great and you're sure the customer likes your product and wants to buy it. But then just when you think you're about to close the deal, he tells you your price is too high. What went wrong? And more importantly, what can you do about it?
If you want to win customers over for life, you have to go beyond the basics. Find out the three elements to strong customer relationships that will not only help you get customers but keep them too.
When a customer's experience with your business goes wrong, the customer doesn't care whether it's your fault, a computer's fault, or Mother Nature's fault. When you follow these four simple steps, you'll turn disappointed customers into delighted customers.
When you're at a networking event, do you tend to hang back and wait to be approached, or are you the center of attention? Take this quiz and find out what your networking style is.
Classified ads are still a great way to find customers and promote your small business. They work in print for some types of business, and they work online. Learn when and how to use classified ads to find customers.
Lost sales are a frustrating fact for any business. Here's why you should spend some time identifying what went wrong after you've lost a sale.
Providing exceptional customer experiences could be the only thing separating your small business from the competition. Here are 10 ways to do it that cost little and pay you back in repeat business, cross-sells, and viral recommendations.
While the marketing and public relations experts are off enjoying their hard-earned vacations, the media are left scrambling for much-needed copy. Plan ahead, and give them what they're looking for! Here are seven publicity ideas you can use to tie into summer events in your community.
Prospecting is a key selling skill and a critical skill to develop if you want to increase your sales and achieve long-term success in sales. Yet, most sales people don’t invest enough time to this integral sales strategy. Part of the problem is that very few companies teach sales reps how to prospect. Here are five prospecting best practices for you to consider.
When you finally get the opportunity to meet with a potential customer to show them your product or service, don't lose the sale with a lackluster presentation. These seven tips can help you create and deliver a killer sales presentation.
Finding new leads and the right customers for your business is tougher than ever. But it doesn't have to be that way. Here are three things you can do to make attracting customers effortless.
Developing the confidence and ability to ask for the things you need is an essential sales skill. Here are twelve situations in which sales (and business) people need to summon up the courage to ask.
Nothing is more frustrating to a salesperson than a customer who answers all your questions with "I don't know." Instead of having to guess at what their needs are when you don't have enough information, try this technique to get your customers to open up.
For some people, negotiating comes as second nature. The rest of us need to carefully study and learn negotiation strategies to be sure we don't end up on the losing end of business deals. Here are ten lessons for improving your business negotiation skills.
What makes the difference between a good salesperson
and a great salesperson? It isn't just good luck. Chances are they are applying some or all of these 17 selling best practices.
Selling in today’s highly competitive business world requires more effort and energy than ever. However, there are certain things that can work against you, especially when you sell in a B2B environment. Here are 11 selling mistakes that annoy decision-makers.
Small businesses must be extra imaginative with their marketing efforts in order to attract customers and get them to open their wallets - especially in today's tough economy. Here are six proven low-cost marketing ideas that can help small businesses increase sales and generate referrals.
You know you need a unique selling proposition for your business, but a USP that also carries an implied guarantee will truly differentiate your business and help you stand out above the competition. Follow these five steps to create a USP with a guarantee.
Marketing your business is a job that is never finished. But your business has other demands, too, and you're the only person who can handle them. So what's a busy entrepreneur to do? Here are three ways you can set your marketing on autopilot.
What makes one entrepreneur successful while the other one not-so-much? Chances are they're making one (or all three) of these mistakes. Read on to learn more.
The person in your company who has the initial contact with your customers has the power to delight or disappoint them. And the way your customer is treated when they first contact you, whether it's by phone, email or in person, will determine whether they stick around to hear your sales pitch or head for the competition. Here are some of the qualities you should look for in your business's "Director of First Impressions."
There's no doubt about it - these are some of the leanest times ever for small businesses trying to grow or even just survive. Frustration with the lack of sales can lead some businesses to leap at every new idea for generating sales that they come across. Here's why that won't work and a tip for what can.
One challenge of the new economy is that common business principles and practices that were sufficient on which to build a business just a few years ago, today are not. Find out if you're using one of the four most common sales practices that no longer work.
Having your own way of approaching sales might make you think you're being authentic with your customers, but it's not necessarily the most efficient or effective way to do business. Here's why successful companies develop and follow a selling system.
It takes time and persistence to get any business started, but making a name in the music world can be particularly challenging. This two-part article shows how one enterprising woman is making a name for herself both as a rapper and as an events production and promotion company.
For better or worse, your business has a brand. But if it is misguiding, confused, or nonexistent, it's hurting your business, not helping it. Here's how you can know if your business has a branding problem.
The economy has taken its toll on many small businesses, and you might be worried that yours is next - especially if you've got fewer customers this year than last. Here are three things you can do to build loyalty and make your customers less likely to switch to the competition.
Listening to what your customer says -- really listening to them and learning what they want from your business -- is the only way to find out what the customer expects from the purchase they plan to make.
Salespeople love to complain about buyers. One of the complaints salespeople share the most is that buyers never seem to make up their minds. Just about the time it looks like they're going to make a buying decision, they suddenly hold off. Here's what's really behind their delay, and tips for the best way to deal with it.
To thrive in our digital age, businesses need to re-imagine their customers not as a mass of isolated individual actors, but as customer networks. Rather than fixating on each day's latest technology, businesses need to focus instead on understanding customers' networked behavior. Here are five ways to do that.
One of the biggest problems facing small businesses is finding customers. And while cold calling or mass emailing might help you make contact with a lot of people, those people aren't very likely to become paying customers, much less loyal, repeat customers. Here's why it doesn't work, and what you should do instead.
Folks say that experience is the best teacher, but that is really only about half right. In fact, someone ELSE’S experience is the best teacher, because they have already made those mistakes. Learn from them, and you get to a higher level of success in a much faster time frame. Here are the top ten lead generation mistakes that entrepreneurs make.
Trying out a new marketing technique could be just what your business needs to start growing. But fear and anxiety over your customers' reaction can hold you back. These seven tips and tricks can help.
A tagline is not a necessity for your business, but it is very useful in helping your potential customers know why they should do business with you instead of your competition. Find out what goes into a good tagline and how to write one.
Marketing your business takes a tremendous investment of your time and money, so you don't want to waste any of it on unproductive methods. Here are ten marketing mistakes you should avoid.
Viral marketing and social networking have arrived on the scene after a long, strange trip indeed. The Grateful Dead was much more than a bunch of rock-and-roll geniuses; they were pioneers of the digital age marketing landscape. Get ten of the lessons in this excerpt from Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead.
Are you ready to move your business to the next level? Are you planning to target big corporations because you think acquiring some major accounts will put your business on the fast track to greater profits and success? Working with big customers may bring more profits, but it can also bring requirements and expenses that are hard to fulfill. Here's a guide to the pros and cons of working with big companies.
Should salespeople be willing to give free advice to their clients? Does free consulting lead to increased sales and profitability or is it a waste of time. Here's what one expert has to say.
Do sales negotiations make you nervous? Put yourself at ease and increase the likelihood of a successful outcome with this negotiation checklist.
When customers ask you for a discount in exchange for their promise of a large purchase, or multiple future purchases, it's hard not to give in. After all, you'll make up for the lower price by selling more of your product and gaining a good customer, right?
Trust and transparency are more important to today's consumers than ever before. Here are nine things to consider if you want to create authentic experiences for your customers.
It's true that attending business conferences costs you time and money, something that's in short supply for most small business owners. Yet the benefits that you'll get from taking a break from your daily routine to meet with other people in your industry can far outweigh the costs.
Watching the changes in their own neighborhoods, as stores close and foreclosure signs keep popping up on their streets, has made even the most carefree consumers more conscious of their spending habits. Recent research suggests that this new frugal mindset is likely to stick around, even after economic pressures ease.
What is it that your customers value? Is it a live person answering their call? Being able to get information from your web site or in email? Find out why focusing on your customer's preferences is the surest path to a thriving business.
You can spend thousands of dollars on an ad campaign, only to have it all go to waste if your customers are put off by the service they receive when they actually enter your business. If you think your customers are less than impressed by your employees then give your customer service a makeover with these 10 tips.
You’ll work nine times harder attracting new business than you will retaining your current client list. That means you can’t afford to anger even one customer. Here’s how you can defuse tense situations and dissolve your customers’ frustrations.
The past year was definitely interesting. Some sales professionals prospered while others suffered. There are several key sales lessons that can be learned from selling in a recession that will help you succeed in the upcoming year.
Many business owners are just barely keeping their heads above water right now. Yet, in the midst of this struggling economy, there are some entrepreneurs who are actually thriving. Find out what it is that they are doing differently to help them succeed.
There’s a logical sequence to building a business, whether it’s online or offline. There are certain things that must be done in order to see your business grow. By committing to follow these eight steps, you can attract more clients and have the kind of income you want.
Most salespeople know that they need to sell their product or service's value to their prospects rather than the price. However, making that transition, especially when your customer asks outright "how much is this going to cost?" is tricky. Here's how you can answer that question and get your prospects focused on what your product is worth instead of its price.
In the current economy, most people are looking for the best possible deal out there. Before you cut price or reduce the quality of service to save money, consider these points.
Even though Black Friday has come and gone, there is still time for retailers to increase their chances of having a good holiday shopping season. Here are ten things you can do to boost your holiday sales in the remaining days before Christmas.
How's your public relations campaign going? Is the media ignoring your press releases? If you're trying to get publicity for your business and not having any luck, you could be making one of these ten mistakes.
Marketing is an important and often expensive part of keeping your business alive and thriving. Be sure you aren't wasting time and money on any of these 11 small business marketing mistakes.
To succeed in sales, persistence is necessary. But persisting with an approach that isn't working isn't smart - it's a waste of time. Here's why you need to change your strategy to be effective.
All businesses have customers that are demanding and sometimes more trouble than they are worth. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to decide if it's time to let a demanding customer go.
No matter how desperate for business you are, you can't let it show through to your customers. People will your sense desperation and either run from you or try and take advantage of you. Here are three things you can do about it.
Right now there are potential customers for your business trying to decide whether or not to choose you. Unfortunately, most of them can't see much difference between you and your competition. From the author of Becoming a Category of One, here are seven things you can do to give customers a good reason to choose you.
Tiger Woods' recent PGA loss may have been a big upset in the golf world, but it gives us the opportunity to learn three important business lessons.
Do your customers see you as a valuable resource for their business, or are you just one of the many salespeople they have to deal with? Follow these steps to position yourself above the competition.
Take a look at the next four or five letters, e-mails, and memos that cross your desk. Are they written in such a way that you come across as human, caring, up to date, and personal? Click here for tips on more effective business writing.
Have you ever noticed how every airplane flight you get in is completely full, and some are even so overbooked they start asking for volunteers to change flights? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could do the same in your business? Here are four ways you can.
Knowing which digital sales tools can best assist you in leveraging your business can be difficult because there are so many different tools in the marketplace. Here are five of them that can help you do your job easier and better.
When you make contact with a new prospect-either by telephone or in a face-to-face meeting-you have an extremely short window of time to connect with them. If you fail to achieve this they will quickly tune you out. Here are several things you can do to lose your prospect's attention in the first five seconds of the conversation.
Is your goal as a manager to make a profit? Profits are a good measure of how your business is doing, but it's not the primary thing you should aim for. Customer satisfaction and loyalty are better goals for creating a thriving, successful business. Read more >>
During a recession, consumers’ discretionary spending is typically reduced, and simply providing quality products or services at a reasonable price may not be enough to draw customers in. Here's how four businesses have creatively attracted customers in spite of the recession.
We live in a quick-fix society so it's no wonder that many salespeople look for the magic cure or band-aid solution to increase their sales. Here are eight basic rules that can help you find success in sales.
Did you know there's an easy way to double or triple your output of new products and marketing materials with WAY less effort? Learn the three "R's" of creating more with less.
You know that your offer's headline is important, but if your offer itself is ho-hum, very few customers will make a purchase. Here's how you can craft an offer that's nearly impossible for your customers to turn down.
Many business owners get so intent on reducing costs, they lose sight of what it's going to do to the business. It's hard to grow - or even survive - if you don't have any customers. Here are five ways you can reduce your marketing costs without endangering your business growth.
Why should you bother with a virtual trade show? And just what is a virtual trade show, anyway? Find out here >>
Selling in a difficult economy requires a different approach than during a robust one. Here are eight things you can do to actively compete and keep your sales afloat.
Even in tough times when most people cut back on spending, nobody can completely stop sending. That means somebody is always buying and somebody is always selling. Here's how you can be sure you are one of the ones who is selling.
It's easy to make excuses for poor sales performance in an economic downturn, but a successful salesperson will find opportunities to increase revenue. Here are a few ideas to help you reach your goals.
Though your sales staff probably isn't as inept as this bumbling salesman, they could still be making one of the seven mistakes he makes. Find out what they are as you follow "Arnie" on a sales call.
Selling a price increase can be difficult in nearly any type of situation, but trying to sell one in a soft market can be downright brutal. Yet, as unpleasant as it can be, it is often essential. Here's how you can make it easier for your salespeople to present the price increase to your customers.
As a sales professional, you face a dragon when you meet with decision makers in the organizations you prospect and present to. If you don’t deliver, your competition might be able to steal the business away from you. Here are five strategies to consider when you face your dragon.
Have you ever considered the fitness level of your customer service department? Just like with personal fitness, there are many components to managing the well-being of a customer service department. Read more >>
We’re all crossing our fingers these days and hoping for a better economic environment. However, even during these tough times, effective salespeople are acquiring new customers and making sales. How? Here are the top ten tips for effective sales that will bring you success regardless of the state of the economy.
The feeling you get when you know your sales are diving can be overwhelming and can set even the most seasoned salesperson into panic mode. Here's some good news: It is possible to dig yourself out of a sales slump and turn things around. Read this advice to find out how.
Dealing with customer concerns, problems and issues is a fact of life when you sell a product or service. Some situations start as minor difficulties but quickly escalate into huge drawn-out battles. Unfortunately, many sales people unknowingly cause situations to escalate.
What separates successful sales people from everyone else? Is it their people skills? Their determination? Find out what ten qualities successful salespeople possess.
Do you have prospects that seem to give you the run-around? They expressed interest in your product or service when you first contacted them but now they don't return your calls, reply to your emails or seem interested in making a buying decision. Here are five suggestions that may turn that cold potato into a hot one.
The look and feel of your advertising - its brand personality - can help increase (or decrease) your brand's image in the minds and hearts of your target consumers. Learn the five components that go into creating your brand personality.
The quickest road to bankruptcy in a struggling economy is to sit on your hands, do nothing, and wait for things to improve. Here are ten sales and marketing strategies you can use now to make your business recession proof.
When selling products or services, it is important to understand why people buy - not just why they make a purchase, but why they make it from you. Once you know that, you can mold your businesses' marketing, sales and customer service around that information. Read more >>
If you only rely on one source of leads, chances are your business is feast or famine: one week you're so snowed under you don't know how you'll get caught up, but the next week the phone barely rings. The fix is to make sure you have diversified your lead generation efforts. Here are seven different ways you can keep a steady flow of customers coming to your business.
Customer relationship management (CRM) isn't just about gathering more and more data on your customers. CRM is only as good as what you actually do with that data once you've collected it. Read about a company that has mastered the art of customer service through its use of CRM technology.
Are your customers worried about price and not seeing the value of your product or service? Here are four secrets that can help you sell on value so that price is no longer an issue.
As a business owner do you ever find yourself trying to act the way you think your clients want you to? Or even more dangerous, are you trying to be more like your competition? Here's why conformity is not a good business strategy and why being yourself is best.
What do you think is your most valuable source for new leads? Is it networking? The internet? Email or direct marketing? You might be surprised to find out that your biggest untapped source of new leads is quite close at hand, just waiting to be invited into your business. Read more >>
After lots of hard work you finally closed the deal. But before you go spending your commission check, you've got to make sure you keep the sale. Here are five things you can do to make sure the deal stays sealed.
If you are selling to companies, chances are you are selling to multiple buyers. In some ways everything is the same when selling to multiple buyers as opposed to single buyers, and then again everything is different. Here are seven important differences when selling to companies and multiple buyers.
If you're in sales, then at some point you've got to persuade someone else that your product or service is the one they need. Here are the seven skills you'll need to convince others to change their mindset.
What is the secret for successful sales? Is it low cost? Is it a famous brand name? Is the secret to successful sales to have the most features, at the best price, with the best quality or performance, before the competition? The secret to successful sales may surprise you.
Jewelry stores use bright lighting to draw your attention to the dazzling jewels they want you to buy. So what are you doing to spotlight the gems in your business? Read more >>
Routines can be good. They help us multitask, reduce stress, and improve productivity. But the drawback is they can be difficult to change when the need arises. Find out how routines can be hurting your sales.
Many successful organizations have survived turbulent economic conditions and fierce competitive environments by consistently nurturing a niche, and the loyal consumers in the niche community. Unfortunately, some have lost their identities in an effort to copy the competition, rebrand themselves, or casually jettison a loyal constituency due to change in focus. Read more >>
Selling is all about the whys. There are some very important whys that you want answered and there are some very important whys your prospect wants answered. If you focus on these whys, selling will become a lot easier for you plus it will be easier for your prospects to buy from you.
The Millennial Generation was born between 1977 and 1998 and is just beginning to enter the workforce. As with each new generation, the Millennials come with their own set of expectations and abilities. Here are five things you can do to market to this group more effectively.
You don't have to be a celebrity to appear as a guest on radio and television shows. Really, there aren't enough celebrities to fill the thousands of slots available daily. Producers and hosts need the rest of us. Here are some tips to help you do well during your time on air.
Just because your customer asks you for a better price does not mean they expect to get it. But even if you do have to lower your price to get the sale, learning these negotiation strategies will help you cut your losses.
Tired of prospects hanging up on you before you even finish your introduction? Be aware of these ten deadly openers that will practically guarantee a quick, abrupt end to your phone call.
Your business writing, whether in a letter to a supplier or on your web page copy, should be clear and to the point. Unfortunately, many people misuse words or choose big, fancy words over simple alternatives. Here are a few tips that can help you dramatically improve your writing.
From the demanding, abrasive buyer to the individual who never seems to make a buying decision, we encounter challenging people on a regular basis. Part of the reason this happens is due to the disconnect we have because of conflicting personalities. Take a look at the four key types of people and find out how to get better results with each.
How many times have you gained new business because you did something unusual? Here's a list of rarely used but very effective networking techniques that will help you boost business.
Don't you just hate it when things go wrong? You have an angry customer to deal with who's been let down by some aspect of your product or service. This is a fantastic opportunity to show just how good your customer service really is. Read more ...
If you're in sales, you probably have a quota of calls you are supposed to make each day or week. But calling on as many prospects as you possibly can is not the best way to be successful. Find out the three things you can do to break free from the "promiscuous prospecting" trap.
Even when you've researched your customers and think you know what they want from your product or service, they can change on you. In this excerpt from The Breakthrough Imperative, learn what you can do to anticipate and respond to those changes.
An ongoing challenge for any company is the retention of customers. Getting new customers costs much more than maintaining ones already doing business with you. These eight ingredients for building customer loyalty will produce dramatic results!
You probably accept proposals as a necessary evil of doing business with bigger companies. Unfortunately, they are sometimes required during the sales process, so instead of facing the task with dread, heed these tips to make proposal writing easier and more successful.
The logic of selling professional services is simple. If you meet the right people, stay in front of them by being helpful, and remind them of what you do from time to time, work will follow. But that task is not as simple as it is stated. Read more from Ford Harding, author of Rain Making.
From the author of the bestselling book Rain Making--Attract New Clients No Matter What Your Field is this advice about two traps in rainmaking. Find out what they are and how to avoid them here.
Here are 15 customer service tips that will help you create a more successful sales environment for your business.
If Johnny Depp walked into your workplace today, how would you behave? If you're like most people, you'd drop whatever you were doing and approach him, smiling, ready and eager to serve him. But what about the rest of your customers? Here are six ways you can treat them all like stars.
As a business owner, you know a lot of people, and you continue to meet new people. This is your network. But what are you doing with it? Here are tips for developing a system to nurture your network.
Love, just like business, is all about building relationships, working on communication skills and fanning the flame when it starts to die, and remembering the little things that maybe no one else does. Follow these three business love lessons and you'll steal your customers' hearts away.
Most businesses don't use all the opportunities available that will bring them additional sales. When one looks for additional business, the primary goal should center around getting "second sales." Find out what second sales are and how you can get them here.
If you are like many small businesspeople, the idea of prospecting for new clients and customers makes you sneeze. Why? Because it conjures up the "S" word--selling--and many entrepreneurial types view themselves as visionaries, not salespeople.
Every industry has its ups and downs. If your business is taking a hit from economic uncertainty, you might be tempted to slash your tradeshow budget. But tradeshows are a valuable source of income and information, especially when times are tough. Here are five things you can do to make the most of them.
Most salespeople focus on getting a sale and getting it quickly. But a new way of selling, that of creating value for your customers, is the best way to differentiate yourself from your many competitors. Read this article from Ram Charan, author of What the Customer Wants You to Know, to learn how value creation selling is different from traditional selling.
Customer service training is great - if you can remember to consistently apply what you've learned. One way to make sure you and your staff don't forget the basics of great customer service is to follow a series of steps like these each and every time.
Dissatisfied customers are, unfortunately, a fact of business life. How you respond will determine whether the customer goes on to tell all his friends and family how terrible your business is or instead rave about your unmatched customer service. Here are 10 things you can do to turn the situation around.
From now until Christmas buyers are ready to make purchases at any time. Is your marketing geared towards getting maximum benefit from this unique mindset? Here are five top marketing strategies designed just for the holiday shopping season.
What makes a memorable TV commercial, product design, or marketing campaign? Why do you listen to certain politicians or business leaders, and glaze over at the very mention of others? It's all about how the message is delivered.
Several commonly used phone conversation starters can be deadly to your cold calls. Find out what those phrases are and why they are so deadly.
While most businesses are spending enormous amounts in an effort to attract new customers, a select few use a strategy that has virtually eliminated the need for marketing. Building a business on referrals isn’t costly or time-consuming once you know the secret.
Nearly six out of 10 new businesses fail before their fifth year. If you've launched a business or are thinking about it, the odds of long-term success are against you! How do the survivors successfully find, attract and keep good customers? What's their secret? Could it be their passion for their business?
The phone rings. It's a journalist who wants to ask you a few questions for a story she's writing. You, flattered, take the call and flub your way through the interview, because off the top of your head, you can't remember your elevator pitch or a single talking point about your business or product. Here are three tips that can help you give a successful interview.
No matter how much customer care training we conduct, some customers will dislike our service. They may become so irate that they confront us face-to-face, venting their frustrations--at times rather loudly and accusingly. Rather than reacting defensively (a natural response), try this approach to defuse angry customers.
If you're a savvy marketer, you've got all kinds of clever free or low-cost ways to get the word out about your business. If public speaking isn't one of them, you're missing out on one of the best, easiest, and cheapest ways to promote your business.
Positioning Products for Broad Appeal
How can you position a familiar product like beer to appeal to the widest possible market? That's one of the marketing challenges Guinness has faced. Read one of the ways they've approached the problem in this excerpt from Guinness: The 250 Year Quest for the Perfect Pint.
How much do you know about your customers? Do you know what makes them happy? Mad? Restless? Here are things you should pay attention to so your customers feel like family.
Being a successful salesperson does not happen by accident or blind luck. Success is the result of diligent effort applied to a structured system with commitment and passion. These seven steps will help you develop a system in a matter of minutes.
Want to know a really good way to waste money on B2B marketing? That's easy. Just ignore your prospects that aren't ready to buy yet. This is guaranteed to cost you 80% or more of your best opportunities. Here are five steps you can take so they'll remember you when they are ready to buy.
Have you ever had a potential client ask you to write a proposal or give a presentation only to respond with "Thank you for doing this and we'll get back to you at some time in the future if we decide to do something"? All that wasted time for nothing.
A new field called NeuroMarketing -- combining neuroscience, marketing, and technology -- has generated a buzz across every industry and every business sector. Take a look at how the latest findings can help you convert more prospects to customers and create life-long loyalty and raving fans.
What does a hijacked commuter pilot have in common with a business owner faced with a disgruntled customer? Both are dealing with highly emotional situations where the outcome - positive or negative - depends on their response.
Networking is about creating an extended family. It's about developing connections, caring about people, increasing the size of your "tribe." Most of all, networking is not the awkward social ritual many of us think it is--networking is actually FUN! Here are the top six networking essentials from the author of the new book Rules for Renegades.
Are you looking for a way to get rid of some of those pesky customers who seem to keep coming back and taking up all of your time? Rather spend your time looking for new customers? Have no fear, we have gathered the top ten tips for weeding out the heard and getting rid of customers.
Press exposure can significantly impact a small businesses' success. Press releases are not just for big businesses; many small businesses find press releases to be an inexpensive way to gain exposure and attention. Here are 8 steps to getting the press exposure you want.
Is your marketing just not performing that well? Many marketing challenges can be traced back to a handful of marketing mistakes. Here are five common mistakes business owners make.
Many businesses have a toll free number because they assume people will be more likely to do business with them if they don't have to pay for the call. But in this day of cell phones with free long distance, your toll-free number may only be attracting telemarketers and friends or relatives.
Persistence is a vital skill that every sales person needs. It's been said that most sales are made after eight contacts with a prospect. However, most people tend to give up after just three or four attempts. Explore the behind-the-scene dynamics involved in a typical sales situation.
They say the definition of insanity is "doing the same thing continuously, and expecting a different result." Is that what you are doing in your marketing? Find out why doing what everyone else is doing can be dangerous - and how you can stop the madness in your business.
One of the best things you can do for your business is to ask new customers how they found out about you. But when you do this, don't expect to get accurate information.
Public relations should be an integral part of your company's ongoing marketing plan. But the way you execute your PR campaign depends on what your goals are.
If you're in sales, you probably have to negotiate with customers. But most salespeople aren't as effective at negotiating as they could be. Read this article to find out what characteristics the best sales negotiators have in common.
Have you ever been blindsided by changes in your customers? Have you ever felt that half or more of your marketing dollars are wasted? Were the surprises and the waste really unavoidable? Find out how you can reduce the impact when your customers change their buying habits in this article from Adrian Slywotzky, author of the new book The Upside.
Effective marketing can make your business or organization almost a household word in your community. It can push your revenue through the roof. And it doesn't have to cost a fortune... but it's not going to happen overnight.
Retail marketing is often driven by the desire to attract more new customers. Though new customers are necessary to keep a business thriving, certain groups of customers are more likely to spend with you than others. Focus your marketing on them and you will reap higher profits.
Just because you aren't a huge corporation with worldwide recognition doesn't mean you don't have a brand. Even if you are a one-man operation, you have a brand and it is of utmost importance to your business. Find out what your brand is saying about you in this article from Joe Calloway, author of the new book Work Like You're Showing Off.
If your business has customers then you will eventually have to deal with complaints. Though it's no fun to be on the receiving end of an unhappy customer, it's actually a great opportunity to improve your business in ways you wouldn't have thought of on your own.
How do your telephone skills stack up? If your customers aren’t impressed by you on the phone, they can switch businesses by merely hanging-up and dialing the competition. Are your practices winning or losing customers? Take the test and find out.
Looking for a way to increase your marketing capabilities? Marketing partnerships are a powerful way to expose yourself to customers you might otherwise never reach. Find out how you can join forces with other businesses to create a successful marketing partnership.
Many salespeople are so relieved to be making a sale that they avoid offering add-ons or upgrades. But you are actually doing a service when you tell customers about accessories and enhancements for their purchases.
Putting all the focus on the merchandise in your store, or the services your corporation offers, leaves out the most important component: each individual customer. Keeping those individual customers in mind, here are some easy ideas to remember.
You know how critical it is to follow up your initial contacts or mailings with a personal phone call, but somehow your list of calls to make always seems to get longer instead of shorter. Why not make this the month you get off the dime and get on the phone? Here are seven steps to make it easy for you.
What is your attitude towards a ringing telephone? Do you consider it an interruption of your busy day or the source of potential business? The way you answer your phone is likely the very first impression your customer has of you. Are you making it a good one?
In his keynotes and recordings world-class motivational speaker and sales trainer Zig Ziglar often talks about the importance of having meaningful, specific goals. And he'll drive home his point with the rhetorical question, "What would you rather be in life, a meaningful specific or a wandering generality?" Learn how you can put that advice to use when writing your sales copy.
There are all kinds of ways to improve your team's performance at tradeshows - but many of them come with hefty price tags. There are, however, ways you can boost performance without breaking the bank. Here are 27 low or no-cost ways to improve your next tradeshow.
All too often companies spend a lot of time and money developing their logo and the graphic look and feel of their promotional materials while giving only cursory consideration to their marketing message. But development of your marketing message should be given at least equal time as development of the graphic elements. Here is a six-step process that will help assure your marketing message will sell.
Despite what most books and seminars teach, successful selling is not a set of strategies, techniques or tactics to get the prospect to buy. Rather it is a state of mind -- yours and your customer's -- and set of behaviors that creates compelling win/win outcomes for everyone. Learn how to achieve this state of mind by following these 7 principles.
In an age with so much access to information, bombarded by advertisements and commercials, is it possible to keep the attention of your potential customers? What is the secret to help customers make an easy decision to buy? Here are five things you can do to make the competition irrelevant.
Most business owners and managers don't understand how to create a truly unique selling proposition (USP). Here are three simple rules for creating your own USP and examples of what makes a good one.
Tired of investing time or money marketing your business and going nowhere fast? Frustrated by how hit or miss your marketing efforts turn out? The problem is "tunnel vision" marketing. Get the solution here.
What makes good customer service? Is it fast delivery times? Nice packaging? Or is it the way you were treated by the sales clerk? Learn what people really care about when it comes to customer service.
So, how was your 2006? Meet your sales projections? How about profits? Regardless of how you did, '06 is history. But '07 is just getting started and there's still time to work in a few more resolutions. With that thought in mind, here are 5 New Year's Marketing Resolutions.
The telephone can be a powerful tool for generating leads and selling products and services. But getting past your prospects' voice mail presents another challenge altogether. Here are five tips you can use to make voice mail work for you rather than against you.
Loyal customers are the most coveted of all customers in business. They account for repeat sales, larger purchases, and referrals to new customers. So how do you find them? Where do you begin to look?
Converting prospects into clients can take months, or longer. And in the time that passes, you have to follow up consistently, but not so much that you become a pest. There is a much simpler way to turn prospects into clients, and it only takes a few seconds.
Have you wondered what causes some people to open their wallets and what factors cause them to walk out the door never to return? Your business could increase profits by becoming "shopper friendly." Here are eight points to keep in mind.
How good are you at introducing yourself at networking events? Most people try to get it over with in as few words as possible. Don't miss this prime opportunity to not only introduce yourself but to also differentiate yourself from your competition.
How can your prospects know if they want what your business offers? How can they know if what you have, is what they need? A great way to let them find out is to offer a sample, a taster, of your products or services. Here are ideas for how many different types of businesses can offer customers a "taste" of what they have to offer.
Networking and word of mouth advertising together are seven times more likely to bring in business than all forms of traditional advertising and direct mail combined. How does it work? More importantly, how can you make it work for your business? Here are five tips to get you started.
After the headline, the first sentence in your copy is what gets read most often. After that point, customers usually skip to the next section unless they feel compelled to keep reading. Here are some examples of how you can improve your opening sentences so that they entice your customers to keep reading.
Successful retailers aren't any more talented or intelligent than you are. They simply have learned to do things in a different way and make money in the process. Use these 12 steps to improve your retail sales and you'll simplify your efforts, multiply profits, and increase the odds of success.
You know who your potential clients are, but do you know where to find them? It may take a bit of detective work, but if you ask the right questions you'll find potential clients hiding all around you.
Do your sales staff make an effort to help your customers buy from you, or do they rarely venture past a perfunctory "Can I help you?" The approach your staff takes with your customers has a direct effect on whether or not they make a purchase, and how big that purchase is.
Nobody likes a complainer, but if you're running a business, the customers who take time to gripe are doing you a huge favor! Most unhappy customers just quit doing business with you, and you never know why. But the unhappy customers who actually let you know why they're unhappy give you the opportunity to make changes that will improve your sales and more.
Your headline is the most important part of any print ad. Most people will only read the headline, and the people who choose to read the entire ad will do so based on the headline. Make your ads perform better by using these four types of headlines.
If you've ever wondered why more people don't respond to your sales attempts and marketing messages, here's the first place to look -- are you selling something that people are willing to spend money on?
Consumers buy products for two reasons-the rational reason and the real reason. Hot Button Marketing shows you how to identify and push the hot buttons that will prompt consumers to purchase your product over a competitor's-even if it's a parity product!
Are you working with the same level of client you were a year ago? How about the same type of client as two years ago? If the answer is "yes" then it's time to look at moving "up-market."
When you run your own business, you will at times have to deal with angry customers. Sometimes it's because you made a mistake, but others it's because the client is impossible to please. Here's advice on how to handle unhappy customers.
Distinguishing your product or service from the competition can make your marketing more effective. Crafting a novel marketing message can attract the notice of more potential customers. But is there such a thing as being too different?
An often-used sales technique is to ask a prospect a "what if" question in order to overcome their objections. Unfortunately, this approach rarely works, and could even backfire on you. Keep reading to find out what kinds of questions you should ask if you want to close the sale.
People who prospect by phone usually prefer warm calls over cold calls - that is, talking to someone with whom they've had previous contact. But the success of both cold and warm calls is dependent on good communication skills.
One of the best ways to increase sales is to keep in touch with people. Regularly calling on former customers and checking in on new leads is the best way to build trust and name recognition.
While companies focus thousands of dollars on external customer service in hopes of wooing and retaining customers, little attention is being paid to the effect poor internal customer service has on customer satisfaction. Consider how your internal customer service is impacting your customers, and use these 5 tips to help improve it.
Is your advertising full of trite, overused clichés? Unfortunately, phrases like the ones listed in this article can make your customers' eyes glaze over and even damage your credibility. Here's a four-point test to help you weed out meaningless platitudes from your marketing copy.
Communicating with your customer, and within your organization about your customers, makes for a smoother, more enjoyable experience for them. This, in turn, leads to more sales for you! Here are several key areas you can consider for improving your business's communication.
What do venture capitalists see as the biggest mistake entrepreneurs make in their business plans? According to a recent study, it's not having a marketing plan.
Call screeners and voice mail make your job of getting through to a decision maker harder than ever. How are you supposed to sell anything if you can't even get through to a real person? Here are eight tips that can help you get your message delivered to the right person.
You've been working in your industry for several years. You pride yourself on fast, accurate responses to customers. You know your product inside and out. Unfortunately, your extensive knowledge may also be one of your greatest weaknesses.
Salespeople often make the mistake of throwing out some product features and benefits, hoping they hit one of the customer's reasons for buying. But people buy for their own reasons, and you won't learn what they are unless you listen to them.
It goes without saying that you should treat all your customers fairly, but that doesn't mean you should treat them all equally. Going out of your way and bending the rules for your best customers is just good business sense.
Ask just about anyone, and the "believability score" for salespeople as a group would rank right down there with most types of advertising, the contractor who says he'll get back to you with a bid, and most politicians. So what's a salesperson to do? Here are a few tips to help you improve your believability.
Potential buyers of a service can't touch, taste, or feel your product. If they are going to spend their hard earned money on the service YOU provide, they will want to get to know YOU. If your marketing materials don't give them that opportunity, you'll never gain their trust - or their business.
One of the biggest deterrents to effective networking is shyness and the lack of confidence to get out there and meet new people. Even if you consider yourself a naturally outgoing person, you've probably had moments where the thought of entering a room full of strangers made you nervous. Here are some tips on how to make networking easier if you're shy.
Can't figure out why your press releases aren't getting printed? Maybe you've fallen victim to one of the five myths of media coverage. Or, perhaps you've omitted one of the five musts.
Most of us negotiate something every day. Whether it's getting our kids to willingly clean their rooms, or hammering out an elephant-sized contract with more details than a politician has "special-interest" donors, our ability to haggle affects our results. Here are ten useful negotiating tips.
What do the words that you use say about you? What is your basic message? Do your words support that basic message?
Want to increase your income without raising prices? You can expand your business by offering related, but different, products or services. Here are 10 ideas for different income sources you can use to increase your bottom line.
New sales are but a small part of a successful business. While new customers are important to every business, properly managing and retaining customers form the real backbone of business success.
Is your seminar attendance not as high as you would like? Don't assume it's because of a lack of interest. All too often it's the seminar marketing that misses the mark. Here are seven tips you can use to increase seminar attendance.
A company's most vital asset is its customers. Without them, we would not and could not exist in business. So how do you get your customers to not only keep doing business with you but to recommend your business to others? By following these 10 commandments of great customer service.
You're ready to spend some serious money on marketing, but how should you best spend it? A very simple tool to help you decide how much and on whom to spend is the Marketing Pyramid. Find out how to put its power to work for your business >>
A slick newspaper ad or radio spot won't do you a bit of good if you stop short and fail to ask customers to take action. Read more to learn about the types of calls to action and how to write them into your advertising copy.
Your employees could be chasing away new customers without even realizing it. Here are three reasons potential customers may distrust you or your team members.
Networking is a great way to meet people in a "non-selling" setting. Here are ten ideas to help you get the most from your networking.
Why are people around the world so very different? What makes us live, buy, even love as we do? In The Culture Code, internationally revered cultural anthropologist and marketing expert Clotaire Rapaille reveals for the first time the techniques he has used to improve profitability and practices for dozens of Fortune 100 companies.
In order to brand your service firm the right way and take advantage of the same benefits that product companies receive from great branding, there are four key distinctions to consider.
While businesses often understand that the goal of customer service is to achieve customer satisfaction, they often don't know how to achieve to this goal. Here are seven steps to exceptional customer service >>
Is price competition driving your rates down to the point that you can no longer be profitable? If you follow these five steps to provide value before, during, and after the sales process, you will get the fees you know you deserve.
You go the extra mile for your customers and give them the best product or service on the market. But do your customers know that they're getting the best? Do they know how hard you work to earn their business? If you don't tell them, chances are, they don't.
Some words are better and more powerful than others. When you are calling a prospect on the phone, you only have about 10 seconds to get their attention. Don't you want to be using the most powerful words you can?
Customer policies are important to protect you from those few customers who might try to take advantage. But are they costing you money? Flexible policies might invite the occasional opportunist, but they'll garner plenty of good will and repeat business, too.
What do you know about your clients? What kind of information can you identify about your clients without having to ask them? Knowing more about your clients is a fabulous way to grow your business. Keep reading to find out how.
Taglines, or slogans, are those memorable little phrases associated with the products and services we use every day. So how do you create a great tagline for your business?
Looking for a way to boost sales and increase profits quickly? Here are 8 dynamic marketing tips that you can put to use today.
In No More Cold Calling, Joanne Black reveals the secrets to her phenomenal success, both in creating her own highly profitable business through one-hundred-percent referred clients and in helping thousands of other sales professionals achieve similar results. Read an excerpt from Chapter 1 here.
Do you believe that the "service" part of your business begins after the customer has made a purchase? Think again. Service should be in the forefront of your mind from the minute you greet your customer.
An innovative field guide to business success, U R A BRAND! combines today's hottest business concept with the realities of the modern workplace to help business professionals everywhere harness their personal potential, take charge of their careers, and contribute their dynamic energy to create a sustainable advantage for their organizations. Read an interview with the author, Catherine Kaputa, here >>
Believe it or not, no one actually buys your service. No one buys coaching. No one buys consulting. No one buys financial planning. So what do people buy?
If you think that your sales force's job is selling, think again. Today's successful salespeople know that their job is to learn their customer's business inside out and offer solutions to the real problems they face. Read more in this excerpt from The Mind of the Customer by Richard Hodge and Lou Schachter.
If you're thinking about developing a marketing program, you need to begin with a marketing plan. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be complicated in order to work. Here are the ten basic parts of a marketing plan.
Press kits aren't just for the media anymore. If you're running a small business, your press kit should operate like an information kit for anyone who's interested in learning more about your company.
Perhaps the biggest fear of someone offering seminars or workshops for the first time is having a dismally low turnout. Here are steps you can take to boost registration, even if the event is only a short time away.
Getting customers is hard enough, so you might think we're nuts to suggest that you fire any of them. But there comes a time when certain customers are no longer worth the money they spend with you. Here's advice on deciding when to let a client go and tips on how to do it.
If you don't have a lot of capital to spend on seeking lots of new customers, then garnering loyalty from your existing customers is the way to go. Here are ways to ensure your customers return to buy from you again and again.
It happens more often than you'd ever guess - in fact, it might be happening at the booth right next to yours. Recent surveys of tradeshow attendees show that the most dissatisfied attendees are those who purchase something that they really didn't want. Want to stop that from happening at your booth? Review these tips with your staff before the show.
If you've been in business for even a short while, you know that it's easier and cheaper to sell to existing customers than to go out and find new ones. But a business can't survive on existing customers alone. Here are the reasons why developing new business is important and five steps to help you do it.
When you are the only one who can serve the clients, manage the business, and perform all the sales and marketing functions, time becomes the most precious commodity you have. How can you find time for marketing with so many other important priorities?
Most companies’ marketing efforts are neither efficient nor effective because they are not based on a solid brand strategy--a strategy that will illuminate the “one thing” that makes their offerings better or different or more relevant than the competition. Here are 7 steps to branding success.
There are several reasons why consultants ultimately lose deals they should have won.