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Sales Strategy & Management

5 Tips To Generate Sales Leads Through Social Media

In order to find new potential customers it is important to know where these people are.

Susan Dolan

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In order to find new potential customers it is important to know where these people are. Fortunately (or unfortunately if your business is not up to speed with modern online marketing trends) the overwhelming majority of people can be found on social media platforms; an observation that is statistically supported.

There are many users who participate in social media across several platforms, not just Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Social media sites such as Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat and Google Plus also have millions of users who are just as engaged and active.

Due to this, it is safe to say that social media is currently the optimum forum for mass interaction. However, a presence on social media is not enough.

Related: 9 Top Customer Service Turnoffs That Are Chasing Away Your Sales

Businesses and marketers need to know where to find their customers. And this is merely the first step in the social commerce journey! Many marketers who decide to use social media as a means of finding leads, may be confused how to do this when it comes to the actual implementation. But don’t worry, collected beneath are five tips to help marketers and businesses generate leads through social media platforms.

1Have a social media presence for your business

Unfortunately, some businesses are under the misguided idea that if they simply set up a Facebook Page and Twitter account then the fans will quickly follow suit.

This conclusion is erroneous. Simply put no social media users are going to follow a business who makes no effort to engage and interact with their following.

First you should ensure that your business has an account on all the major social media platforms relevant to your target customer. Once this important pre-step has been taken, the hard work begins.

To establish a presence and begin utilising social media networks as a tool to further your business it is important to post content regularly and continually interact with other users.

2Be human, not a robot

robot-and-human

One of the key aspects of social media is the social element. People do not sign up to social media platforms so they can be directly advertised to in their leisure time. They join up so they can connect to other interesting human beings across the world around a range of topics of significance to them.

If you want to be accepted by these users you will have to appeal to them as a human. This may produce more difficulties than was initially anticipated.

A good place to start is to make a personal pledge that you will not transform your social media networks into an alternative mailing list.

Instead you should look for ways in which you can begin engaging your followers in conversation. Also, do not be afraid of letting your personal voice come out via your posts and content. In addition, when you receive any comments or feedback, ensure that you respond promptly.

Related: Exactly How Involved Should You Be In Your Business’s Sales?

3Provide your following with what they want

As a marketer or business owner you already know what you want from your followers, namely to convert them into actual customers. For the best results you should consider this scenario from the perspective of a potential lead.

Ask yourself, what these possible leads will want. Also consider the fact that if you are not offering anything to them, why would they bother to visiting your website, or become a fan or follower of you on social media? This is the essence of inbound marketing.

If you can work out how to provide perspective customers and leads with what they want, then you will not have to seek them out, instead they will find you.

You should provide your following with interesting and engaging content, which is also informative, but do not ask for anything in return.

A good way of doing this is by setting up a company blog which explores issues, problems and questions which commonly arise from your customer base.

Once this has been done, you should link it back through your various social media pages. When doing this remember to include a visual aspect to your activities.

It has been found that the human brain is far more effective at processing images than it is at processing text. It is well worth playing with infographics, memes, videos and photos to see what provides the best results.

4Link your social media to your CRM and sales

A Customer Relation Management system, or CRM, is becoming a key tool for businesses who wish to maintain good relationships with their customers.

This is done by keeping accurate information about the minute yet important information, details of appointments and other important customer information. The other part of this is ensuring that this information is then accessible.

When your business is using social media as part of its sales process to prospect for leads, ensure that your sales team is up to speed with the facts.

Accumulate information as you proceed and ensure that you have a CRM in place to analyse and share this information with members of your company who require it.

Working in unison with various departments and individuals within your business will ensure that you enjoy more success from the information you have accumulated. Meaning that you will not have to rely merely on the charm of your social media efforts to gain results.

Related: Shark Tank’s Romeo Kumalo Weighs In On High-Impact Entrepreneurial Businesses

5Persuade them

If all other measure fail then do not be afraid to utilise a bit of persuasion. If you really want to gain public support for your brand on social media platforms, then the quickest way to do so is with some persuasion techniques.

This can take the form of a “contest”. Offer social media users the opportunity to enter a prize draw, however in order to enter they must either like or share your content.

If you offer something that people want you will see a large amount of people engaging with you in order to take part. 

Susan Dolan is a Google and social media expert from the UK. She had the privilege of living and working in Seattle in the US in 1999 where she witnessed the explosion of the World Wide Web and the birth of Google literally from the start. Over the years she’s provided a variety of services specialising in SEO and social media and now educates others speaking at numerous educational seminars. You can follow Susan on Twitter (@GoogleExpertUK) or visit her site at Seo Web Marketing.

Sales Strategy & Management

3 Ways You Should Use Data Science to Skyrocket Sales

This post will show you 3 ways to keep your business stable and profitable, successfully.

Olivia Ryan

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Sales business is getting harder and more competitive day after day. Both physical retail and e-commerce offer a wide variety of brands and products, which makes it more difficult for an average sales person to seal the deal with potential customers.

Sales professionals have to be clever and extremely analytical before even approaching their clients. That’s why they use data science to skyrocket business. Data science is a contemporary statistical model which seeks to provide meaningful information from large amounts of complex data.

According to the study, this type of business analytics is expected to generate almost $170 billion in 2018. If you want to keep the business stable and highly profitable, you should consider embracing data science in everyday work. This post will show you 3 ways to do it successfully.

Prospect Analysis

Data science is based on artificial intelligence that has enough analytical power to give you remarkable insights into the traits of all prospects. Using this tool, you can personalise sales negotiations so as to match the exact needs of each client individually.

For example, data science will tell you the basic demographic features like age, gender, and location. But it goes beyond that and reveals income levels, professional titles, or personal interests based on online searches. All these inputs allow you to customise offers according to client’s preferences.

Related: Can Your Marketing Team Speak Data?

At the same time, you can prioritise prospects based on company size, predicted revenue, long-term potential, industry influence, or any other feature you might consider relevant to your business. This way, you can dedicate more time to the more important prospects and increase profitability just because you know who to talk to first.

Upselling

It’s much simpler to sell products to existing customers than to attract new buyers. Data science can help you to upsell products and increase the profit using the base of loyal clients. The system is simple – data science analyses the purchasing history and the preferences of every customer and suggests complementary products. That way, you make sure that your upselling suggestions stay relevant, which not only reduces bounce rates but also strengthens the base of loyal clients.

Create Ambitious Sales Quotas

Creating sales quotas has never been an easy job. Most companies are selling dozens of products in many cities, regions, or even countries, which makes it difficult for sales managers to manually determine ambitious but realistic quotas for their agents.

It’s actually one of the biggest reasons why managers underperform and fail to meet company requirements. However, data science makes this task a lot easier because it can automatically conduct the research and decide how much is enough for every sales representative in your team.

Company Aussie Writings uses data science to make sales forecasts and here’s what they say about it: “The new business analytics model goes through huge volumes of data within minutes, detect sales trends, and gives us a good plan for each agent, product, or region. With such powerful tool at our disposal, we don’t put too much pressure on sales representatives, but we also don’t have to worry about underachievement.”

Conclusion

Data science helps businesses to analyse potential clients more comprehensively and increases the odds of keeping sales high in the long run. It’s a perfect model for entrepreneurs who want to stay competitive in the abundance of brands, products, and services.

In this post, we showed you 3 ways you should use data science to skyrocket sales. Which tip could give your company the biggest boost? Let us know in comments and don’t hesitate to ask us if you need any additional information about this topic!

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Sales Strategy & Management

5 Secrets Of Communicating Effectively With Your Customers

Richard Mukheibir

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Communicate with customers

Standup comedians take cues from their audiences and modify their material as they go along. You can use this technique to watch for cues from your customers as to how they like to be addressed by you and staff.

This might seem like a schlep when things are going crazy at the tills or in the back office but the reward is creating loyal customers. Getting their feedback can also help you build your business. Here’s how to make communicating with customers a win-win scenario for them, for you and for your staff:

1. Listen first

Rethink your relationship with your customers by remembering that they are in control of the cash, not you. Shift your attitude to acknowledge this by recognising that you would like them to buy happily and confidently from you.

Bullying them with an over-the-top sales pitch is often a fast road to customer disappointment.

Instead, take time to guide them to the product or service that suits them best.

2. Acknowledge and connect

Whether you are demonstrating a product or ringing up a sale, allow the time to pause briefly and look customers in the eye. This personal connection makes customers feel that each one of them has been acknowledged as a fellow human being and not just a cash cow.

Related: 7 Steps To Optimise Your Cycle Of Customer Service

Such simple courtesies help you build the loyalty that encourages customers to return to buy again. They also often help take the sting out a disappointment or complaint about your product or service, allowing you to deal with it constructively.

3. What happens in the back office stays in the back office

Be clear in your own mind and also make sure your staff respect the house rule of not pursuing disagreements between colleagues on the shop floor. Most customers who witness something like this tend to back off – perhaps right out of your door.

Some may even film or record it and post it on social media. That is when you realise that there is indeed such a thing as bad publicity and you risk your business’s reputation being permanently damaged.

4. Choose the words

Customers are impressed when they see the boss putting in time on the shop floor or getting involved in customer relations. You can get double value from this time by listening in to the way your staff interact with customers.

Related: See You At The Top: A Guide To Winning At Customer Service

Make notes of what is positive and negative then use them during staff training sessions to role-play the situations again and help staff develop empathetic tones, body language and responses to customers.

5. Value the feedback

Compliments make everyone glow but even criticism or a complaint is valuable to your business – it’s like free market research.

So encourage your staff not to argue with a critical customer or try to prove how wrong they are. Respect their perception of their experience and use it to improve your range of products or services and help your business thrive.

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Sales Strategy & Management

What Really Drives Sales Growth And Repeat Business?

Hint: It’s neither your prospects’ ability to buy nor how great your product or service is.

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Have you ever analysed what really drives sales in your business? Most people tie their answer to marketing or new leads. Those can be drivers but not the main driver for small businesses.

What causes one person to shop with you for years, driving out of their way to get to you, while the guy across the street won’t set foot in your door? Typically, when I ask this question, I get feedback about how great the product and service is. When I ask why the guy across the street won’t use you, I typically get some explanation of a lack of need or ability to buy.

Those answers can all be true, but that doesn’t make any of them correct.

I have spent the last seven years studying these questions and searching for both the truth and the correct answer. Surprisingly, the right answer is far easier to understand than I thought it would be. Instead of you having to become an expert on the subject, I’ll save you years and tell you what I found.

The truth and the correct answer

If you want to drive sales growth and repeat business, it boils down to understanding and then implementing one strategy: Content builds relationships, relationships build trust, and trust equals sales. Think about that statement for a minute. It is true in your personal and business life right now.

Related: Sales Leadership: The New Frontier

Content builds relationships

Since the dawn of man, how did we build relationships? We create content. If I found myself to be single tomorrow and on a date, I would work to build a relationship with the person I was dating by talking to them – that is, by creating content.

In B2B sales for many years, people created content by having all the knowledge and telling sales prospects about the great features and benefits of new, amazing machines. Today, we create content for our websites and e-books, as well as for downloads or videos to post on YouTube.

Why do we do all of this? Simply put, content builds relationships. And if your customer is looking to purchase anything of significant value from you, you will first need a relationship to make that happen. Once we have a relationship, what happens?

Relationships build trust

shaking-handsMost people don’t fully trust someone they just met, regardless whether it is a business relationship or a personal one. Human nature is to give a little bit of trust and to see if someone is worth giving more trust to. In other words, make them earn it. This is why delivering, at a minimum, what you said you would is so vitally important.

This is where good customer service, the person who answers the phone or sits at the front desk, can make or break a new relationship. As the relationship continues, more and more trust is given; and if the experience remains positive, the amount of trust you get grows still more. As the trust in you grows, then what happens?

Trust equals sales

The more a person trusts you, the more they will buy from you.

One bit of good news with all the competition that is popping up is that it is super easy to stand out, because there are so many poorly run companies and untrustworthy people in the world. All you have to do is do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do it. Also, treat people the way you’d want to be treated. Since so few will do that, it is not that hard to stand out from the pack.

Related: 3 Strategies For Closing Sales Without Picking Up The Phone

Once a person has a relationship with someone, and they always get what they expect, changing from that person or business is not easy or even desirable. Because you gave good content, you created a relationship. Through that relationship you worked hard and developed trust and now, that trust you earned turns out money through, year after year. When you have 500; 1,000; 2,000; or 5,000 of those trusting relationships, they become assets of your amazing business.

If you’ve read me before, you may have heard me say that you should use a newsletter to build a fence around your customers. They will stay longer and spend more. Well, this is what I’m talking about. Had I been more sophisticated in my understanding of how all of this works seven years ago, I would have switched out the word “newsletters” for “content.”

I tell people all the time that a newsletter isn’t a magic tool. If anyone is selling you a magic solve-all-your-problems tool, you should run very far away and very fast. A newsletter is simply a vehicle to distribute content that builds relationships. It nurtures those relationships over time. You have to respect the relationship and earn trust by delivering on your product or services. If you don’t, can’t, or won’t do that, you could deliver all the content and send all the newsletters, and it simply wouldn’t matter one bit.

How to implement this in your business

The challenge with any idea is implementation. With most ideas in business, you typically have four choices, and this one is no different.

You can do the following:

  • Do nothing. This is what most people do, which is good news for you, because it is also what most of your competitors are doing. That makes it very easy to stand out.
  • Do it yourself. Content has to be created, and maybe you’re the best person to do that right now in your company.
  • Hire an employee to do this for you. Of course, you could hire and train a content creation person and outsource editing, graphic design, etc.
  • Find a company to help you implement this strategy.

Related: The 5 Best Actions You Can Take To Improve Sales Calls

Regardless of your decision, if you want to truly grow, or if you want to beat the competitor down the street, or if you want to increase the value of your company, it starts with this strategy: Content builds relationships, relationships build trust, and trust equals sales.

This leaves you with one thing to as you finish this article: Look back at the four options and make a choice.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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