Friday, March 4, 2011

Sales Success

It is true that Lead Generation is and should always be your #1 priority.  To succeed in any sales driven business you must have client leads.  It's that simple.
Some salespeople try to deal with a down economy by spending a lot of time prospecting to find new leads for new customers.  Prospecting is always critical.  But what about the customer base you already have?  Are you doing enough to cultivate leads from the people you have done business with in the past?  the people you already know?
Six Strategies to Increase Sales Success
  • Identify a product or service you have that your customers may not know about
  • Add Value - the most important contribution you can give to existing customers is your knowledge and expertise
  • Offer new ideas - Give customers ideas on how to improve their business and their lives.
  • Offer new solutions - Give customers the answers to something they find important
  • Make your customers feel they have a special relationship with you.  Stay in touch.
  • Communicate all of the above with your customers on a regular basis.  Perhaps a monthly newsletter or mailing
Salespeople who are willing to put in the hours preparing and learning about their customers, their needs and wants are the ones who record the highest conversion rates and sales volume.  Allow your goals and your natural curiosity and desire to be successful fuel you.  Don't be one dimensional; go past the knowledge of your standard challenges in today's market and dig a little deeper.  Connect with your customers more directly, on a more personal level.
Another key to being truly successful is to have a committment to learning.  Top salespeople are always reading and researching and they are also doers.  They act on what they learn, they don't just stuff good information away in a filing cabinet.  They are always looking for a place to use it and apply it.
There is also a lot of opportunity by getting plugged into your customer's network.  The average person knows hundreds of people in different ways.  Most of your customers are active in industry trade associations, networking, community and social involvement.  How can you get to know some of the people they know?  More importantly how can you be sure that when the need arises your customer is giving your name to their networks?
As you develop your plan to communicate and network more with your existing customers consider the fact that customers are bombarded with information all day long.  So be sure to deliver information that has a positive impact on their lives, do things to earn their trust and show them the value in knowing you and doing business with you.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

QR Codes - Why? Why Not!

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Have you noticed these funny looking codes more often lately?   These codes are the newest way to transfer information at the speed of light!  They are are actually called QR Codes (Quick Response Code).
When you scan or read a QR code with your iPhone, Android or other camera-enabled Smartphone, you can link to digital content on the web, activate a number of phone functions including email, IM and SMS as well as connect the mobile device to a web browser.
QR Codes are popping up everywhere.   Magazine ads for stores like Wal-Mart and Target.  On billboards and wine bottles even!  The potential for QR codes is limitless.  You can create one in a matter of seconds and have that QR Code on ads, fliers, business cards, brochures, signs, on vehicles, invoices, name badges, etc.
Quick Response codes and other two-dimensional codes are expected to achieve widespread use this year – and for good reason.  Consumers want immediate access to what's relevant and QR Codes are making that possible.
Bar codes are linear one-dimensional codes and can only hold up to 20 numerical digits, whereas QR codes are two-dimensional (2D) matrix bar codes that can hold thousands of alphanumeric characters of information.  There’s no limit to how, or even how much, you can share with QR codes.
QR Codes could link to:
  • Contact information for your company as well as specific employees
  • Landing page to any company site
  • Marketing information for your product or service
  • Directions to your business location
  • Videos and Links
  • An explanation of a Company process or procedure
  • Valuable coupons and special offers
  • Consumer Tips as they relate to your industry
  • Customer feedback forms
  • Endless possibilities
As I mentioned, you can create a QR code yourself.  There are a number of sites for generating QR codes and they’re all free.  An Internet search for QR code generator will offer many choices.
I used Google to create the QR code above, it took me about 10 seconds.  And when scanned; that QR code will take you to my Facebook Business Page.  Try it!
Another benefit to using QR codes is their ability to help with SEO (Search Engine Optimization).  Web objects such as images, music clips, and videos add valuable content to your social graph.   QR codes enhance both your search engine and social media optimization.   Now you can increase traffic to those searchable objects to further optimize them by encouraging more sharing.
In order to scan a QR code you have to install a QR Code Scanner app on your smart phone.   I have the QR Code Scanner Pro app on my blackberry.   It was a free download.  I have been told the QR code reader app that works well on iPhone is i-nigma and for the android, try Barcode Scanner.
The potential for QR Codes is limitless.  What’s most exciting is how they take what social media is doing well now, bringing people together with technology, and extending it to enhance the experience.
According to a recent article in Social Media Examiner, "The next generation of bar codes will hold even more information – so much that an Internet connection will not even be necessary.  The content will be effectively embedded in the code."
It’s amazing to consider where this can go.  How about you?  How can you use QR codes in your business communication and marketing?