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2018

Finding new customers and consistently driving sales are invaluable goals for every business owner. In this post, I’ll provide small business owners with advice for developing a predictable client attraction process to prospect more clients and close more sales. Here are five tips to help you on your way:

 

1. Identify your target audience and leverage their contact details

You can identify your target audience by first understanding your market and its challenges. This makes it easier to also identify key decision makers and influencers, who might produce relevant content online. Use sites like LinkedIn to find the contact information for those key decision makers. The more information you have about your audience, the better off you’ll be in building a process that leads to closing more sales.

 

2. Make warm calls63662271_s.jpg

Your initial contact with prospects should always be “warm” – or, preceded by some sort of contact with the potential customer or prospect. One easy path to building a relationship is following your prospects on social media and engaging with select content. In doing so, you can begin to familiarize your target with your company affiliation, your name, or other things you think would interest the prospect.

 

Ensure your communication is professional and not pitchy. Potential clients are often turned off by a direct selling approach. It makes them feel that you only care about selling them your services and products instead of solving their problems. Warm calls build trust.

 

3. Use social proof to establish yourself as an expert in your industry

People listen to experts when deciding who to do business with. Imagine what your closing rate would look like if you were the most sought-after expert in your industry. One of the ways to become a thought leader is to share content illustrating your expertise. For example, establish a blog to showcase your expertise, post articles on other people’s blogs and create content for YouTube and Facebook.

 

There are many free social media platforms to make your ‘voice’ heard in the marketplace. Use them to share your solutions to prospects' problems. Social proof is an exceptional way of inviting leads. Once people identify with you in solving a certain or some problems, they will look for you and buy your services or goods.

 

4. Build trust with clients

Remember the old saying “People do business with those they know, like and trust”? Building trust with your prospect increases the likelihood of closing the sale. One way to build trust is to use a referral. A referral from a source your prospect always trusts transfers a level of that trust to you. 

 

Another way to build trust is to keep your promises to your prospects and clients on the little things. Ensure that you offer value to your clients and you are a person of integrity. Keep your word and deliver beyond customer expectations. When you win the hearts of your clients, they will refer others to you. It also helps to ask for referrals from friends, current clients and family.

 

One of the primary rules in selling is to promise what you can deliver. When prospecting, think of repeat business. No client will come back if their buying experience is bad.

 

5. Sell

Once there is a relationship between you and your prospects, sell yourself well. At this crucial point, introduce your products or services. Ensure the client gets more value than they’ve paid for.

 

When selling, don’t be in a hurry to close the sale. Instead, educate the client with as much information as possible about the product and how that product will solve their most painful problem.

 

Creating a repeatable sales process is the key to increasing your sales. Even if the prospect says “no,” it’s important to understand the real reasons why they are saying “no.” For example, I recently helped a small business owner create a simple sales prospecting process and overcome sales objections that led to them closing a high five-figure sale in less than a week.

 

The wrong sales campaigns can demoralize your sales staff as well as reduce your businesses’ revenue. Having a well-trained and motivated sales team is paramount to growing your business. With the five prospecting and sales tips above, you can steadily increase your sales and grow your business.

 

Related Content:

The Art of the Sale: Tips for closing the deal from master salespeople

5 Tips for How Not to Feel Salesy When Selling

9 Ways to Discover What Your Customers Really Think of Your Business

 

About Ebong EkaEbong+Eka+Headshot.png

Ebong Eka is no stranger to the world of personal finance. As a certified public accountant and former professional basketball player he offers a fresh perspective to small business planning and executing. With over fifteen years of accounting, tax & small business experience with firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte & Touche and CohnReznick, Ebong provides practical money solutions tailored to the everyday person, the aspiring entrepreneur or the small business owner.

 

Ebong is the founder of EKAnomics, a sales, pricing and leadership firm. He is also the founder of Ericorp Consulting, Inc., a tax and management consulting firm. Ebong is the author of “Start Me Up! The-No-Business-Plan, Business Plan.

 

Ebong is also the founder of The $250 Tax Pro, which provides tax preparation and consulting services in the Washington, DC area.

 

Web: www.ebongeka.com or Twitter: @EbongEka.

You can read more articles from Ebong Eka by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Ebong Eka to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Ebong Eka is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Ebong Eka. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

This series explores some of the most common and difficult challenges faced by small business owners. Part 1 explored how to effectively manage cash flow, and Part 2 laid out steps to find and retain employees.

 

Marketing has always been a challenge for small business owners, but in the “olden days,” marketing methods such as print ads, direct mail and public relations stayed fairly stable. Digital marketing changes constantly, and with so many options for marketing online, many entrepreneurs are overwhelmed.

If this is you, take a deep breath, keep reading, and incorporate these online marketing “essentials” into your marketing plan.

 

Build a Website

It's hard to believe, but as recently as 2017, 29 percent of small businesses did not have a website. If you’re one of them, get moving! There are many providers that offer one-stop services including everything from registering your website domain name and hosting your site to designing, building and maintaining it.

Do you already have a website? Great! Now, make sure it’s:35338495_s.jpg

    • Mobile optimized. The percentage of online searches on mobile devices surpassed the number of searches on desktops back in in 2016, and by 2021, the number of mobile search users is expected to grow to 221 million people.  Make sure your site looks great and works great on all types of smartphones and tablets—not just on computers.
    • Fast. Your customers are impatient folks, and speed is especially important on mobile devices. According to data from DoubleClick, 53 percent of mobile website visits are abandoned because it takes longer than three seconds for the site to load.
    • Optimized for search. Search engine optimization (SEO) helps your website appear higher in search results. You can optimize your website for search by researching keywords that prospects are likely to use when searching for your business. Use those keywords throughout the site in text, headlines, product descriptions and “tags” on images and pages.

 

Get the Local Edge

If your business relies on local customers, use these local digital marketing strategies to get more business.

    • Get listed in local search directories.BrightLocal reports 97 percent of consumers searched online for local businesses last year. Google My Business is the most important local search directory (since more than 59 percent of all online searches start on Google), but there are many others, such as Bing, Local.com, Citysearch and Yellow Pages. It’s free to get listed, and having a presence in online directories makes a huge difference in whether prospects find you when they search online.
    • Take advantage of online reviews. Online reviews are the new word-of-mouth. According to BrightLocal, 85 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. Get listed on review sites such as Yelp or Angie's List. Then monitor reviews and quickly respond to any critical ones.
    • Related content: Why Local SEO Matters More Than Ever (and 4 Steps to Success)

 

Social Presence

Whether you own a B2B or B2C business, whether you sell products or services, and especially if your target customers who are millennials or younger, you need a presence on social media. More than half of small businesses say social media is somewhat or very important to attracting new customers, communicating with existing customers, and marketing to both new and existing customers.

 

Use social media posts to drive customers to take action, such as visiting your website, filling out a form or making a purchase. Want to get attention? According to HubSpot, photos and videos are over 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than text-based content.

 

Related Articles: Social Media Primer: When to Post, How Often and What About, Is Your Website Driving Millennials Away? Here are 6 Warning Signs

 

Don’t Forget About…

Email marketing has a median return on investment (ROI )of 122 percent—more than four times the ROI of social media, direct mail or paid search, according to DMA and Demand Metric. Use email to send special offers, newsletters, or updates about your business. Make sure your emails are optimized for mobile devices. If they aren’t, over 80 percent of recipients will delete them.

 

Get Help

Digital marketing is a huge landscape, and I’ve only touched on the basics here. The good news is, there are plenty of places to get expert help with everything from website design to email marketing and local search listings – with plenty of digital tips right here on the Bank of America Small Business Community.

 

 

About Rieva LesonskyRieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

Have you ever thought to yourself, I want to sell more products and services, but I don't want to be too salesy? If you're a small business owner, selling your products and services is necessary – especially if you’re the face of the company.

 

The challenge some business owners have is being comfortable selling “on stage” – meaning speaking to potential new clients – without feeling salesy or scammy. Here are five important tips to sell your products and services on stage, in live presentations or online without being overly salesy.

 

1. Identify the problems your ideal client wants to solve

Ask your audience what their greatest challenges are. Why? People buy for one of two reasons: to get a desired result or to solve a problem. If the needs your product or service fulfills are not great enough, your product or service won’t sell. Your customers won’t spend their money with you if they can't see how you will solve their problem.

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2. Give your audience a level of certainty

From the stage, provide the audience with certainty that your product, services or expertise will solve their problem. You can provide certainty by sharing positive experiences with clients, compelling testimonials and favorable results from clients who have benefitted from your products and services.

More on this: 9 Ways to Discover What Your Customers Really Think of Your Business

 

3. What is your unique solution?

What’s your unique solution that can meet your audience’s needs or solve its problems? Explain how your process works to the audience. Show them how easy it is to implement your process with your help. You're walking customers through what working with you will look like and highlighting the results they could get. Remember, you're not selling them anything. You're presenting a problem and showing them a unique solution.

 

4. Why you are the one to solve their problem

Put yourself in your clients’ shoes. There are many individuals, small businesses, products and services vying for attention online and off. What makes you the right person with the right business and the right solution for your clients? While “on stage,” leverage your background, your clients’ success stories, and your unique value proposition to appeal to a prospective client.

 

5. Tell the audience how to get started

Finally, explain to your audience how to get started with you – after your presentation. In my presentations I show prospects the process of what it’s like to work with me – and how to get started. After my presentation, I want a yes or a no. If the answer is yes, then I want to sign that person up right there. If it's on a webinar, I want them to click the link and complete the transaction.

 

You don’t have to use slick sales techniques to sell your products and services. As a business owner, your responsibility is to make sure your audience gets what it needs. If you provide quality solutions that can help enrich and improve their lives, you can ethically sell your products and services on stage – whether in a conference room, webinar or showroom – without feeling too salesy.

 

More helpful articles:

Public Speaking Made Easier

How to Improve Your PowerPoint Presentations

 

About Ebong EkaEbong+Eka+Headshot.png

Ebong Eka is no stranger to the world of personal finance. As a certified public accountant and former professional basketball player he offers a fresh perspective to small business planning and executing. With over fifteen years of accounting, tax & small business experience with firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte & Touche and CohnReznick, Ebong provides practical money solutions tailored to the everyday person, the aspiring entrepreneur or the small business owner.

 

Ebong is the founder of EKAnomics, a sales, pricing and leadership firm. He is also the founder of Ericorp Consulting, Inc., a tax and management consulting firm. Ebong is the author of “Start Me Up! The-No-Business-Plan, Business Plan.

 

Ebong is also the founder of The $250 Tax Pro, which provides tax preparation and consulting services in the Washington, DC area.

 

Web: www.ebongeka.com or Twitter: @EbongEka.

You can read more articles from Ebong Eka by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Ebong Eka to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Ebong Eka is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Ebong Eka. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

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