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Education resource for the group travel supplier

 


B2B sales professionals spend their days finding, calling on, and following up with new prospects. Experience has taught them that people do business with people they like and trust. So, how could they build relationships efficiently and effectively, earn trust, and shorten the sales cycle?

Social media could help the sales department crack into the sales vault. It could help them move past the gatekeepers, save time, and build relationships that lead to signed contracts.

  • Back to social. Business has always been social, making social media a natural fit in the business world. On Facebook, a friend of a friend may be the decision-maker at a company you want as a client. On LinkedIn, salespeople are one connection away from many of their prospects. Sales could do a little digging on social networks for introductions from friends and business associates—and a warm introduction beats a cold call any day.
  • Keep the business conversation going. Sales had a great meeting with five decision-makers. They liked the presentation and asked several “buying signal” questions. Now what?


The sales rep should connect with all five on LinkedIn by sending a short message like, “I enjoyed our meeting and look forward to the next.” Then, they could check in twice a week to see if those decision-makers post anything to LinkedIn. If they do, the rep could comment in a way that shows interest. Sales shouldn't try to sell the product or service here—they're trying to establish a relationship and plant a name firmly in memory (in a positive light). Even a simple “Great article, thanks for posting” is sufficient.

  • Multiple “ins.” In companies with more than twenty-five employees, there's usually more than one decision-maker. You may have to present to several, but it only takes one to get in the door for a meeting. I like those odds; how about you?


Here is one way to use social media to find the multiple “ins” at a company. Go to LinkedIn, type in the name of the company you want an appointment with, and a list of employees will show up on the screen. Scan the list, and identify a handful of possible decision-makers. If you reach out to each of them, there is a good chance at least one—or two—of them will get back to you. You could also follow the company on Twitter and Facebook, looking for additional opportunities.

  • Minimally invasive procedure. If sales uses social media to help build relationships and continue conversations, it's not as invasive as other sales methods such as cold-calling or cheesy one-liners. But if sales turns the focus to building a relationship, they'll get a meeting and leave a favorable impression.


Building a relationship does not feel invasive; selling to someone does. Social media could help sales bridge the gap in an efficient way that will open doors and shorten the sales cycle. Efficiency and effectiveness in one tool? Social media is the best B2B sales gadget you'll never see on an infomercial.

Article adapted from: BtoBWritten by: Julie Bee is president-chief connector at BeeSmart Social Media (beesmartsocialmedia.com). She can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Um, let me have a think about that and I’ll get back to you.” How many times has someone told you that? (Of course, you never hear back from them again.)

If you’re getting push back from your prospects about your prices, or stalling tactics, this article is for you. The good news is that it likely has nothing to do with your prices or your abilities, but it has everything to do with your actual sales process. It’s likely you either don’t have a good one, or gaping holes in the one you’ve got are making people scramble to safety. The simple truth is that most people tell you “they’ll think about it” because you either haven’t given them enough information to enable them to make an informed decision, or you haven’t given them a compelling reason to jump off the fence now (as opposed to next week or next month).

Here are five easy ways to strengthen your sales process, increase your conversion rate, and help more people make better decisions about using your services:

  1. Prior to any sales appointment or big in-person meeting, send them a “Shock and Awe” kit. This kit contains valuable information about your services, your clients, and your accomplishments. In every way, it should surprise and delight the prospect—think of including an expert audio CD, a special white paper you’ve written on a topic of interest, a copy of your book. Get creative and make this a fun package for people to receive.
  2. Script your sales process. Forget “winging” the call. Every top salesperson in America uses sales scripts (usually memorized). It’s because they work. Most people don’t even prep before an important sales call, let alone use a script. If this is you, then it’s time to tighten up your process, get some sales scripts crafted, and watch what a difference it makes in your conversion rates.
  3. Follow up after the call. Just because they say no on the phone, doesn’t actually mean “no”; it just means “not now.” Once someone has raised her hand, keep marketing to her again and again. Use a combination of e-mail marketing (better than nothing) and creative “drip” direct mail campaigns (the most persuasive).
  4. Make them an offer they can’t refuse. Give them a reason to jump off the fence today. Otherwise, expect them to “stay put” until they feel they’re ready (by which time you might be old and toothless).
  5. Take away the fear for them. Everyone is petrified of making a wrong decision, especially in business. No one wants to waste their money on a lemon. And sadly, because so many businesses are mediocre at best, most people buy expecting to be disappointed. In my copywriting and consulting business, practically every client we work with has horror stories of working with other marketing companies. Big promises, poor delivery. Impotent sales copy that completely missed the mark. Missed deadlines, bad quality, horrid graphic design ... The list of battle scars is long in our industry. So, we flip this on its headand instead of expecting our clients to take all of the risk by using our services, we take on the risk by guaranteeing our services. Either they love working with us and are thrilled with the results, or we’ll refund their money. It immediately takes the fear away for a prospect. If you truly believe in the value of what you do, then why wouldn’t you offer a bold guarantee?

Source: Julie Guest, founder of The Client Stampede and author of The Only Business Book You'll Ever Need

Tuesday, 02 April 2013 04:18

3 Words That Create Instant Credibility

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Being a know-it-all is a great way to make people question your common sense.

When it comes to credibility-building, the three most powerful words in the English language are: "I don't know."

Many salespeople and most managers think that they'll lose credibility if they admit ignorance, especially about something about which they "ought" to know. However, the exact opposite is the case.

Admitting ignorance makes everything else you say more credible. Admitting ignorance marks you as a person who's not afraid to speak the truth, even when that truth might reflect poorly on you.

Needless to say, the "I don't know" should be followed by a plan to discover the information that's required, if the issue is truly important. And you WILL be judged on whether you deliver on that promise.

But here's the thing: People dislike a know-it-all. They can often sense, at a gut level, when they're being “BSed.” Even if they're taken in, when they find out (as usually happens) that they've been BSed, they never trust the BSer again.

Source: Geoffrey James writes the Sales Source column on Inc.com, the world's most visited sales-oriented blog. His newly published book is Business to Business Selling: Power Words and Strategies From the World's Top Sales Experts. @Sales_Source

Monday, 25 March 2013 11:35

Do's and Don'ts For Your First TradeShow

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Trade shows may only last for a few days, but working out the logistics, the organization, and planning your execution might takes months. Showing up without proper preparation is the worst thing you could do, yet covering all of the bases may seem overwhelming. So, we’ve compiled a list of Do’s and Don’ts we always take into account when we do trade shows and the like.

DO plan ahead.

Space – How much of it do you have? There are various booth sizes. Your standard mid-range booth is 10’ x 10’, but some are as small as 5’ x 5’ and others can get up to 10,000 square feet! Regardless, your layout is key to your presentation, and you should make most of your space by displaying your products/services in a way that will grasp attention. Go ahead, be creative and stand out in your own way! Planning your layout ahead of time is a must if you really want to make a good impression.

People – How many do you think are coming? Trade show tickets usually aren’t cheap, and you have to ask yourself: Is it worth the cost to bring more people? Yes, having extra hands around could be valuable—being understaffed is a nightmare. However, overstaffing could be costly. Look at the attendance numbers for previous years, and be as informed as possible when deciding who’s going and who isn’t. Always remember to keep logistics in mind: How are you getting there? Where are you staying? You don’t want to end up with a bunch of your employees with no place to sleep.

Materials – Did you double-check for everything? For example, does your booth need a backdrop? Most shows require you to have a backdrop and a floor rug. Do you have fliers, business cards, T-shirts, prizes, or giveaways, even? These are all important materials, and they should all be focused on transmitting your product. Plan ahead, though; you don’t want to be ordering T-shirts a week before your show!

DO brand everything.

Brand everything. Brand it all! Each business is unique, and your booth should show it. There are hundreds of booths at your average trade showand if your brand isn’t at the forefront of your presentation, you will be lost in the crowd. Your visitors should leave your booth knowing your brand, down to the last detail. Consistency is key. Your backdrop, your floors, your business cards, heck, even your shoes should match your brand identity! When you set up at a trade show, you are building an experience. When there are inconsistencies in experience, it could make your business appear sloppy. Make your experience a memorable one.

DO use your space wisely.

Don’t cram your space with a bunch of furniture. Think light, think fluid; imagine your floor plan filled with people. (That is the goal, after all!) You want to make your space welcoming and easy to walk into. The biggest mistake people make is setting up a table right on the edge of their space. This makes everything cramped, and people are less willing to stop and talk when they feel rushed. Don’t force people to stand awkwardly in the aisle—that only leads to anxiety and to a less engaged crowd (if any crowd, at all). Think of your space like a living room: You want people to come in and stay a while.

DON’T spend too much money; invest where it counts, instead.

There are those out there who spend millions on trade shows. You don’t have to. You can put together a professional and attractive booth without going bankrupt. First, outline your budget and stick to it. It is easy for your money to run away from you, so invest it where it counts. You want to make sure your booth looks nice, but how much is it worth for a backdrop? $1,000? $3,000? $10,000? That money may be better spent on a well-designed booklet that describes your product, or possibly a large monitor to display a slide show or do product demonstrations. Cater your spending to your marketing priorities, and spend money where it counts.

DON’T haul everything yourself.

If you're bringing a backdrop and a floor (and you probably will), odds are you won't be able to drag it into the show. It is almost always easier and less complicated to just ship your materials to the space. Most trade shows have their own set of "roadies"—if you will—who control all backstage access. These guys lose money when you DIY your way onto the show, so they'll be putting up a lot of regulations as to what you can and can't carry in yourself.

DON’T sit in your booth like a rock.

Make sure you have time to walk around the floor. People don’t always just come straight to your booth. In fact, with so much to see, it is rare that anyone visits all of the booths. Have a couple of your employees walk around the show, handing out material on your product with your booth number clearly displayed. Offering a special promotion or contest is a great incentive to get more visits to your booth.

Don't forget, a lot of your competitors are probably at this show. Visit their booths—check out the competition! Take the time to see the other businesses that are also doing awesome things; they’ll reciprocate if you play your cards well. There is a reason people go to trade shows, and you should take advantage of every bit while you're there.

Source: Leaf's SMB Blog 

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