Attract more sales enquiries with these 4 tips

marketing tips, ideas, sales

How easy do you make it for prospective clients or customers, to spend their money with you?

That may sound like an odd question. After all, every business owner should be making the purchasing process as effortless as possible. As you know, this is not always the case. In fact, we regularly encounter hurdles that stop us from choosing a particular vendor.

The good news: It’s possible to significantly improve your product sales or client acquisition numbers, by paying attention to the following 4 areas.

1. Be open for business when they need you

Most businesses copy the opening hours of their competitors. A better model, is to base your opening hours on the needs of your marketplace. If you’re not available when your marketplace is ready to buy, you lose.

2. Offer flexible payment options

I’m often amazed at the limited payment options offered by small businesses. A lack of flexible payment alternatives, means those businesses are leaving money on the table. Worst of all, it’s totally avoidable.

Thanks to services like PayPal, it has never been easier for small business owners to accept payment via credit card, debit card and charge cards. If you factor the payment fees into your prices correctly, all those additional transactions needn’t cost you a penny.

3. Offer a money-back guarantee

I do this with my Pick My Brain service and clients love it. It reverses the risk from them to me. It means they can hire me with total peace of mind.

Clearly, this type of risk reversal doesn’t work for every business model. However, if you think it could work for you it’s worth exploring.

4. Make it as easy as possible for people to contact you

A common mistake some small business owners make, is to require too much information on their contact forms. When someone is making an initial enquiry via your website, you need their email address, name and message. That’s it.

By demanding their postal address and / or their telephone number, you immediately reduce the number of enquiries you will receive. People know that some businesses collect and then sell their addresses and phone numbers.

Ask for the minimum initial information to get the maximum number of enquiries.

Take a moment to review the suitability of those options for your business. Any one of them could potentially make a significant improvement to your business.

Stop marketing your services. Really. Stop it!

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Afternoon tea at The Savoy in London is over £110 and there’s usually a waiting list.

Of course, no one pays The Savoy all that money for afternoon tea. No. They can buy tea and cake from a shop down the street for 90% less. However, it’s not the calories people pay for.

They pay for The Savoy experience: The outstanding service. The amazing quality. The story they can share with their friends.

Sell them the experience

The vast majority of service providers sell the calories of what they do. These coaches, accountants, designers, trainers etc., offer the same predictable services and make the same predictable promises. They have turned their service into a commodity. They then attract fee sensitive clients, because clients buy commodity services based on price or fee.

However, the best service providers in every industry use the same approach as The Savoy. They discovered that they could massively improve their income and profits, by making the experience of working with them so uniquely valuable, that people will pay a premium for it.

If you’re having to compete on fees or you’re finding it hard to stand out from the crowd, invest in creating an amazing experience, then sell the experience. Get this right and it will improve your business beyond recognition.

Tip: You will find this post extremely useful: The number 1 thing your business must know in order to succeed.

A guaranteed way to increase your chances of success

fly wings

So, you’re working on a new idea or trying to improve your business results.

You have a couple of options open to you:

  1. You can go through the long, costly process of trial and error… work hard and hope it works.
  2. Alternatively, you can save yourself a lot of time and money. You can find out what needs to be done, and then proceed with confidence.

If you’re the kind of person who prefers the second option, try this. It’s guaranteed to work. [Yes, literally].

Be stingy with your time, but not your ideas

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Laura emailed me with a great question. She wanted to know why I give so many ideas away, for free, on the blog. She rightly pointed out that with no advertisers and no need for “traffic”, I could achieve all my marketing goals, writing far less often.

So, here’s why I strive to be helpful to as many people as I can, as often as I can.

The contribution mindset

I see it like this:

  • If you own 3 pieces of gold and you give 1 of them away, you are left with 2 pieces of gold. Give all 3 pieces of gold away and you’re left with nothing.
  • If you give someone an idea, you still have just as many ideas as you had before. Plus, you have just enriched the other person and maybe made a new friend too.

Scaling generosity

The key is to find a way to share your ideas, which scales.

  • If you give an hour of your time away to 10 individual people every day, you have just lost 10 hours. It doesn’t scale. It’s unsustainable.
  • If you give an hour of your time to your community every day, by writing a blog post that reaches 10 people or 10,000 people, you have still only invested 1 hour.

We need to be stingy with our time. The clock is ticking. We only have a limited supply. But when it comes to helping people, we can choose to be generous.

That’s why I give so many ideas away, for free, here on the blog.

P.S. Interested in blogging? Here’s how you can become an overnight success.

How to stop stalling and do your best work

wait waiting

No, it doesn’t really matter what brand of computer you choose to work with. The same is true of the software you use. Leonardo da Vinci changed the world, writing with a quill.

No, it doesn’t really matter how you plan what you write. Best-selling author John Boyne, like many, doesn’t plan at all. He doesn’t even know where the story is going, until after he starts writing it.

No, it doesn’t really matter how inspired you feel. You don’t wait for inspiration to appear… you command it to appear.

What matters

What matters is that you get started. So learn to identify your stalling tactics. Then, call them out for what they are.

Now you’re free to focus on doing your best work.

Here’s what to do, when clients say you’re too expensive!

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Most small business owners still believe that their clients primarily care about fees or prices… and they are right!

However, this is only true because they fail to offer clients anything else worth caring about.

  • No, people will not pay you more than average, when your services are too similar to other similar priced services.
  • Yes, there are providers in every industry who earn 5X or 10X the typical fees. Why? Because they provide 5X or 10X the value.

Rather than complain that clients care too much about your fees, create something else for them to care about. It works. In fact, it can transform your business.

Tip: Here are some examples to help you sell on value and be in high demand.

Email marketing: How to massively improve your results

email

Email marketing is extremely effective. So why do almost all small businesses get such uninspiring results from it?

That’s what this post is all about!

Email marketing: Free and easy?

The cost of marketing has changed massively over the years.

For small business owners, the cost of sending a marketing letter [direct mail] to just 1000 prospective customers was considerable. There was the price of the stamp, the printing, the ink and the paper. Then, you paid someone to fold all the letters and stuff them into the envelopes.

Today, sending a marketing email to 1000 prospects [or 100,000 prospects] takes seconds. There’s no paper, no ink, no envelopes, no envelope stuffing and no stamps.

The cost of email marketing is close to zero. Except… it isn’t. You now risk paying a different, far higher price!

Allow me to explain.

Different prices and different thinking

In 1995, my London-based marketing business was paying around £1000 to reach 1000 prospective customers via traditional mail. I used high quality stationery and printing, but that was still quite an investment.

Before spending that kind of money, small business owners used to think long and hard.

  • They made sure they were contacting people with a potential need for their offering.
  • They checked that the contact name and address were correct.
  • They used to work hard to optimize their copy or content. It needed to be just right.
  • They removed prospective customers from their list, if they failed to get a response after a set number of interactions. [Unlike now, where the person receiving spam email has to ask to be removed!]

Now think for a moment about the poorly targeted emails that flood your inbox.

It’s clear that way less thought goes into them. The vast majority are junk and totally irrelevant to you or your needs. You regard those who send these unwanted emails as pests.

And this is where the cost comes in for email marketers in 2015!

Reputation points: The price you pay for average email marketing

Every time you send a poorly conceived email marketing message to someone, you pay a price.

However, unlike before, the cost to you isn’t directly monetary. You pay with something even more valuable. You pay with your reputation. You pay using the currency of reputation points.

For example, when you decide to add someone’s name to your list without their consent, you lose reputation points. When you email people too often, you lose reputation points. When your message is pushy or needy, you lose reputation points. When your offer is irrelevant to the recipient, you lose reputation points.

Business owners who service a regional marketplace can soon find their name and reputation seriously damaged. They can only alienate their marketplace so many times, before people get sick of them.

The solution

It starts by accepting that email marketing isn’t free or easy. There is a hefty price to pay for a casual approach — both in reputation damage and lost opportunities.

So, get permission to email prospective customers. Then send them targeted, expertly written, relevant information. Do this only as frequently as they need it to be.

It works. Here’s how I helped Irene make over $32,000 in 9 days, with email marketing.

Do something today, which your future self will thank you for

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Here are 10 suggestions to get you started.

  1. Dream bigger dreams. They are more motivating than puny goals.
  2. Get into the habit of walking daily for 30 minutes. It will improve your life in so many ways.
  3. Too busy for a 30 minute walk? Get serious about solving your time management problem. This will help you.
  4. Focus on what you want. Not what you fear.
  5. Stop aiming for perfection. Instead, strive to be better than you were yesterday.
  6. Look for opportunities to step up and lead. Your marketplace desperately needs leaders.
  7. It isn’t the 1980’s — So, instead of focusing on closing sales, focus on opening relationships.
  8. Start a blog or a newsletter. If you already have a blog or newsletter, start taking it seriously. Here’s how to become an overnight blogging success.
  9. Avoid toxic influences. Everyone and everything you connect with has an impact on you. Choose wisely.
  10. Stop waiting for things to improve. Instead, plan for improvement, then work the plan.

I hope you found those useful.

How to increase sales and build an excellent reputation

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There’s something amazing about deadlines, which very few business owners tap into. When used correctly, deadlines can help you improve your sales results and build a great reputation too. I’ll show you how this works in a moment.

First, let’s consider just how valuable deadlines are:

  • By giving someone a deadline, you have stated precisely when you expect them to deliver.
  • By accepting a deadline, you have put your reputation on the line. You have committed to deliver by an agreed time.

So, how can you and your business benefit [enormously] from all this?

The marketing power of precise, self-imposed deadlines

The smartest business owners look for opportunities to commit to precise deadlines. They know that their clients and prospective clients value certainty and clarity.

For example, the power of a promise like, “It will be completed and emailed to you at 9am Tuesday”, is far greater than the typical, weak, “It will be with you in the next few days”. Clear, committed marketing statements attract people’s attention and generate word of mouth referrals, because in most industries they are exceptionally rare.

Yes, it takes courage to offer your clients a precise deadline, knowing you have to deliver on that promise. However, it’s a massively valuable marketing move and one of the fastest and finest ways to build a great reputation.

How to predict your success in advance

will it work

People often ask me if their new business idea will succeed or not. Of course, the only way to know for sure is to ship the idea and see what happens.

The reason you can’t predict a successful project in advance, is that an idea, even a wonderful idea, can’t achieve anything by itself.

For example:

  1. A wonderful idea will flop without a willingness to hustle. It takes persistence, energy and motivation to drive a new project forward. No hustle, no momentum. No momentum, no success.
  2. A wonderful idea will also flop if the marketing is ineffective. You need to reach the right people with the correct message.

Predicting success in advance

Here’s what we know about those who go on to succeed and those who flounder.

  • Most small business owners will get the first part right. They are happy to work hard.
  • Far fewer will get the second part right. They prefer to dabble with marketing.
  • A small minority will get both parts right. These are the ones who succeed, by working hard AND working smart.

In essence, it doesn’t matter how good an idea looks on paper. It doesn’t matter how good an idea sounds when you ask people what they think of it.

If you want an idea or project to succeed, you need to back it up with intelligent activity.