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Sales Prospecting

5 Research-Backed Strategies To Increase Your Sales Revenues

Most businesses put too much emphasis on generating web traffic and not enough on optimising for conversion.

John Stevens

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Without awareness and traffic, your website will never be able to convert customers. On the other hand, most businesses put too much emphasis on generating traffic, and invest insufficiently in optimising their websites for conversion.

According to research from Eisenberg Holdings, for every $92 that the average company spends to attract people, it spends just $1 to convert them. This explains the abysmal conversion rates many companies suffer from (with rates typically under 3.5 percent, according to Monetate Ecommerce Quarterly’s data). It also explains why generating revenue and staying profitable are among the most pressing challenges that businesses face today.

Thankfully, your business can be made more profitable. Ample research has been conducted on what it takes to take your company out of the red and into the black.

Related: The Sales That Really Count

Here are five research-backed principles guaranteed to hike your revenue.

1. Smart, personalised email marketing

Research shows that email is the most effective of all marketing channels – both inbound and outbound. Data from the Direct Marketing Association shows that you can expect an ROI of $38 from every $1 spent on email marketing. And research by Monetate, which analysed over 500 million shopping experiences, found that email (at 3.19 percent) beats search (1.95 percent) and social media (0.71 percent), combined, when it comes to driving sales.

If you haven’t invested in segmented or triggered email-marketing already, it’s time to start, since doing so could double your revenue. Once you’ve gotten started with  email, take things a step further by fully personalising your messages.

According to Marketing Sherpa, simply personalising your emails can boost your sales by up to 208 percent over using the general “batch-and-blast” email approach.

2. Up-selling and cross-selling

Extensive research has shown that up-selling and cross-selling are two of the most effective ways to boost revenue in a business.

At one point, Amazon attributed up to 35 percent of its revenue to cross-selling, and JetBlue was able to generate $190 million in additional revenue in 2014 simply by up-selling its users. According to social ecommerce platform Viral Style, simply enabling upsells can “automatically increase your average profit by an additional 15 to 25 percent.”

The two challenges involved with upsells and cross-sells are relevance and timing. Make sure that your content-management system is capable of associating related products together. That way, when you offer an upgrade or a multi-item bundle, that move will make sense, given your site visitors’ browsing patterns.

Also, to ensure that your offer doesn’t turn off a prospect who would otherwise become a converted customer, consider setting it to appear as part of the checkout experience instead of as a suggestion on a product page.

Related: You Can’t Succeed At Sales Working In Failure Mode

3. Increase your trust factor

Trust plays a major role in the average customer’s decision whether or not to buy from you; and unless you can effectively optimise and increase your trust factor, your business will basically be leaving money on the table.

While there are many ways to amplify your company’s impression of trustworthiness – and, ultimately, every tip in this article will help you do that in some way – here are some of the most effective ways:

Enable SSL: Enabling SSL (Secure Sockets Layer security technology) has been observed as massively boosting sales; when people see the green padlock and “HTTPS” in their browser’s address bar, they’re more likely to buy from you.

Use security seals: Research shows that displaying security seals on your website is the foremost way to get people to trust and buy from you. Simply embedding a familiar security seal will go a long way to increase your trust factor and maximise sales.

Make an address and phone number visible: Available data shows that having a visible phone number and physical address on your website can boost sales by up to 5 percent.

Have a social media presence: Even if you’re a brick and mortar store, you’ll lose out on a lot of business if you don’t have a diverse digital footprint. In addition to your website, you should maintain an active, attentive presence on each of the major social networks.

amazon-website

4. Opt for a faster website

How much do you think each one-second delay in site loading time costs ecommerce giant Amazon? That’s a massive $1.6 billion annually. Yes, every single year! And it’s not just Amazon we’re talking about. It’s been estimated that a one-second delay in any site’s load time will result in a 7 percent loss in conversions.

People simply don’t have the patience to watch web pages slowly render in today’s “everything on-demand” climate. Slow websites cost the U.S. ecommerce industry as a whole around $500 billion annually.

Simply making your website faster can – and will – boost sales dramatically. According to data from Gomez, which monitored real user data from 33 major retailers, decreasing page load time from eight to two seconds increases conversion rates by a whopping 74 percent.

5. Leverage the authority of social proof

The “Milgram Experiments” of 1963 were designed by psychologists at Yale to observe the extent to which humans are willing to go when it comes to obeying authority figures. Surprisingly, the studies found that approximately 60 percent of people will remain obedient  even to the point of inflicting significant harm on others.

Thankfully, converting customers with your website involves harming no one, and it’s relatively easy to use the principle of human obedience to amplify your site’s sense of authority and improve your revenues.

The key here to boosting sales lies in using this psychological phenomenon as a form of social proof: Simply having someone respected as an authority in your niche endorse your product can double or triple sales. Just ask Weight Watchers.

When Oprah Winfrey announced that she had invested in the company, a form of authority endorsement, its stock prices shot up by 110 percent overnight. If you are struggling to convert sales and generate revenue, consider sponsoring a relevant industry authority – or influencer – to endorse your brand.

Related: 3 Online Marketing Strategies To Kick-Start Stagnant Sales

Conclusion

As the studies referenced here show, increasing your business revenue by 30 percent, 50 percent, 100 percent or even more is certainly within reach. Leverage the above principles in your business, and watch your revenue and profit skyrocket.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

John is the CEO at Hosting Facts, a start-up he created to ensure consumers can find clear, unbiased facts about web hosts.

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Sales Prospecting

Want Higher Response Rates? Start Treating Your Sales Prospects Like People

You can’t expect to sell anything if your prospects don’t trust you.

Sujan Patel

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Sales isn’t an easy job. It takes the right personality and a certain set of skills to be successful. That’s why whenever I’ve hired for a sales position, I’ve found that it’s very hard to find that right person.

That’s because so many salespeople have the wrong attitude when it comes to communicating with their prospects. They’re so focused on the numbers game – from pricing to commissions to quotas – that they forget that they’re talking to real people.

I can’t tell you how many times a sales rep has come to me complaining about how a prospect has ghosted him (or her), and wondering what he did wrong.

But the truth was, he was the problem. You can’t come charging out of the gate, pushing the sale and expect the prospect to fall in line. Sales is about communication, about nurturing that relationship and building trust. And you can’t expect to sell anything if your prospects don’t trust you.

Why your prospects don’t trust you

Sales reps already have a reputation for being shady. In fact, according to research from HubSpot, only 3 percent of buyers trust sales reps. And for good reason! After all, sales reps are doing so many things wrong:

  • Talking too much and not letting the prospect share his or her needs
  • Grilling the prospect with too many questions
  • Being overeager when it comes to making the sale
  • Going into a conversation with a prospect unprepared
  • Not taking the time to understand the prospect.

Related: Sales Strategy Example

The point is, it’s through trust that you find success. Prospects know when they’re being treated like dollar signs, when you’re talking through a script and focused only on the transaction. And the minute they feel mistreated, they’ll walk away. Believe me.

That’s why when talking to the prospect, you have to forget about the sale. I know that sounds like the exact opposite of what you should do, but hear me out. If you’re too focused on the sale, your prospects won’t trust you. They won’t open up and share their needs, and they won’t believe in the value of your products or services. So, you have to forget about the sale – at least temporarily.

What do you focus on instead? Building that trust. And the best way to build trust is through open and honest communication.

How you can improve your communication with prospects

In any relationship, communication is key, and sales are no different. How you communicate will dictate how your prospect responds to you and whether or not he or she will ultimately buy from you. That’s why having strong communication skills is essential.

Here are the three things you need to do to communicate effectively with your prospects:

1. Connect

The first thing you need to do is slow down. Don’t be in such a rush to talk about your products. You need to nurture the prospect and ease him or her into the idea.

Start by getting to know this person. Ask questions, and let the prospect do the talking. Better yet, research your prospect ahead of time to find some common ground. Maybe you both like the same sports team, or maybe the prospect wrote a really interesting article recently. Whatever it is, lead with that commonality to start building a rapport.

The goal is to get the prospect to feel comfortable around you and then open up more and share his or her needs.

Related: 5 Tips To Generate Sales Leads Through Social Media

2. Listen

Remember how I said you should let the prospect do the talking? According to HubSpot, 69 percent of buyers surveyed said that the number one way to create a positive sales experience with them was to listen to their needs. You need to truly hone in on what your prospect is saying. Then you can identify where you can help.

Sometimes, that may mean you discover that your product isn’t actually right for that prospect. Rather than trying to push the product further, you can part ways gracefully. Don’t look at this scenario as a bad thing; it will free you up to focus on other prospects who are a right fit for your product.

3. Solve

In truth, sales reps are more like consultants – or at least that’s how they should behave. As you’re listening to your prospect’s needs and pain points, focus on what the right solution for those pain points is. Once this person has explained his or her situation, show how your product would be of value to that situation specifically.

The key is to see things from the prospect’s perspective. Put yourself in his or her shoes. You’ll find that your prospects are people just like you, and they want to be treated with respect. They don’t want to be “sold” to; they want to solve their problems. And if you can provide that solution, they will likely trust you.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Sales Prospecting

3 Steps To Healthier Client Relationships

Do you have clients that constantly push the boundaries, who have unrealistic expectations and inconsistent feedback? What if you could have a client base of only people who value your work? Firing the wrong clients can help you get there.

Dominique Sandwith

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It’s not easy to admit that a client is actually doing your business more harm than good. When it gets to the point that you are spending all of your time and energy trying to please one client, then it’s time to look at what they are contributing to your success.

In the early days of your business, it’s understandable to hold on to difficult clients as every penny counts. However, as time goes on, firing a disproportionately time-consuming and challenging client could free you up to go looking for new and better business.

Here are three steps to take to healthier client relationships:

1. Get perspective

Step back from everyday tasks to make some notes about the client relationship in question. Ask yourself what you value in your client versus what drains your energy and puts you in a bad mood.

Understand what the deal-breakers are and whether the client in question has crossed the line. It’s possible that you just need to have a frank conversation with the client, but often these kinds of client relationships are too far gone.

Related: 1 Simple Rule To Avoid Bad Client Relationships

2. Fire the wrong client

There’s no one-size-fits-all for this process – you have to do this in your own way, but be clear on the reasons. If the client has been as unhappy as you are, they will most likely understand that this relationship is not a good fit.

However, there are times when a client has no idea that they are being unreasonable or thinks that this relationship is productive. That’s when it’s difficult to explain why you are deciding not to take their money.

Make it factual and don’t bring in your feelings. If you have examples of situations or email threads as proof show them that this is not how you believe a successful relationship should be. Be clear on your values and what you envision for your business.

Be polite and professional throughout the conversation and focus on the relationship fit, rather than pointing out their personal flaws. Explain the next steps and how the handover process will take place. You want to make sure that the end of the relationship is as amicable as possible.

3. Find the right clients

Firing a difficult client is likely to affect your bottom line in the short term but it will give you the motivation, and headspace, to go looking for the right clients.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure you know what you want in a client – make a list of things you won’t stand for again with future clients, and one that describes your dream client.
  • Use your time and resources wisely, and aim high to secure clients that will be worth your while.
  • Identify potential clients and projects that are profitable, that will inspire you and that you enjoy working with.

Tip: make sure the Terms and Conditions on your website, and in your quotes, are well-defined. State your prices clearly, don’t leave room for interpretation. Don’t back down if a new client quibbles over a cost estimate. Take complaints of this nature as a warning sign and walk away.

Related: How Well Do You Really Know Your Customers?

Don’t ever think that you’ve wasted your time with the wrong client. Each client you work with helps you to refine your offering and progressively understand what you’re good at. Firing a client is never easy, but sometimes it’s a necessity for the successful and sustainable future of your business (and your sanity).

When you fire the wrong client, you can streamline your business to play to these strengths, and ensure you offer a world-class service or product.

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Sales Prospecting

7 Steps To Master The 80/20 Revenue Model

Imagine a world where 80% of your revenue came from 20% of your customers. Now what will it take to make it your reality?

Emma Donovan

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We are often so focused on new leads that we forget to master the art of upselling and cross-selling. To generate more income from existing customers you need to focus on quality over quantity, and be strategic in your approach. Here are seven steps to help you on your way.

Understand what you want to achieve

When you upsell, you encourage customers to buy a higher-end product or service than the one in question – such as an airplane seat with more leg room. Whereas cross-selling tempts customers to buy related products that satisfy additional, complementary needs. A simple example is when you check out of an online store and the shop tempts you to buy similar or complementary products that you suddenly just can’t live without!

Tip: Identify which one makes sense in your business, and what the additional or complementary offering will be.

Nurture relationships

Long-standing relationships and loyal clients are worth their weight in gold. Make sure they know they will remain a priority, even when you are busy with bigger or more profitable projects.

Constantly over-deliver and exceed expectations. Make yourself ‘irreplaceable’. 

Related: This Is What Bevan Ducasse Did When He Realised wiGroup’s Revenue Model Wasn’t Working

Provide solutions

Don’t presume you know what your customers want or need – do your homework and ask them. You need to understand their hopes, dreams, fears and challenges. Three simple ways to do this are to:

  • set up regular one-on-one calls
  • catch up over coffee
  • or email them a quick survey to complete.

Add real value

Ask yourself, ‘how can I help this client achieve their goals or overcome this challenge?’ You need to find ways to add real value to make the additional expense worthwhile. Also make sure your pricing is fair and competitive, without selling yourself short.

For example, one of the products we cross-sell at Yellow Door is video content. It’s a key part of a holistic marketing strategy and is a great way to bolster content for launches, social media and newsletters.

Paint a picture

To excel at upselling and cross-selling, you need to help customers visualise the value they will get from the higher-priced item. Whether it’s a 30-second video, an infographic, or a well worded email – take the time to explain not only what the product is, but how it will benefit them or their business.

Incentivise

Offering a reward or incentive can increase your upsell or cross-sell conversion rate. For example, offer free shipping or a discount if the client purchases two or more products or services.

Related: Bob Skinstad On Making An Impact With The 80/20 Principle

Create capacity

Ensure your team has the expertise and capacity to deliver the relevant service or product at the right standard. Alternatively, find a non-competing service provider to complement your offering and agree on a referral or commission structure. This way you can expand your offering without increasing your overheads.

The key to success is to understand what your customers value and then respond with products, services or features that meet those needs.

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