New business owners may care deeply about customer happiness, but many live in fear of customer unhappiness. That fear is founded: Customers not only have a huge megaphone for sharing their opinions of products, services and companies (i.e. the Internet, online reviews, social media), but they increasingly turn to the opinions of others like themselves to decide where to spend their money.
In fact, consumers today—not companies themselves—hold the power to make or break a business. So what can new business owners do to take some control and have peace of mind? Continue reading
With a mobile phone in your hand, the task of choosing a phone system might seem unnecessary in the early stages of your business, but it’s actually very important. The telephone is still the preferred method of customer service in the United States. The calls you miss are as important as the ones you take, and a phone system will allow you to convert missed opportunities into sales conversions. Continue reading
Customers and clients are at the backbone of any small business. No matter how worthy your products/services are, a business can’t succeed if no one’s buying your goods. But once you’ve established your customer base, the next question becomes how to retain them and get them to refer your business to friends. That’s why how you thank your customers is so important. Continue reading
When it comes to sales, be a product of the product. If you don’t use the product or service you’re selling, why should your prospect? If you sell Hondas, don’t drive a Jeep. These six strategies will help you build credibility up with prospective customers and clients – and also ensure you make some money in the process for your business.
1. Determine quickly if you really can help.
I recently got a call from a prospective client who wanted help completing interviews. It took me about 2-3 minutes to find out that their budget was too small for me to work with. I politely offered a referral to another firm that might be able to do the job. I didn’t want to waste any more of their time, and I didn’t want them to waste any more of mine.
A good salesperson should know the type of customers they work best with, and if the people they are meeting with are the right kinds of customers for their organization. After a few questions, you should be able to determine if it makes sense to keep talking. If not, end the meeting.
2. Address concerns completely.
When a concern is brought up, don’t skip over it. Stop for a moment and consider what could be causing it. Is it a real objection? If so, take a moment to prepare your response. Then fully address the concern with the customer. For example, if a prospect says your price is too high, focus on showing the value of your product or service. Frame your price in terms of the immediate and long term benefits the person or company will receive.
One of the most frustrating parts of small businesses is the knowledge that it’s nearly impossible to catch every lead. Anything from missing a phone call or an opportunity for easy sharing, to not catching what could be lucrative deals – or worse, losing business to a competitor – can have you scrambling for better customer service solutions.
Unfortunately, you can’t constantly be on the phone or online 24/7, so you’ll need a little help. That’s where tech aids, who can help turn your small business into a lead generating machine, enter the picture. Avoid missing lucrative deals and customer service opportunities by turning to net services and tech solutions to help you catch every lead that comes through.
Social media has completely revolutionized the way we communicate as well as the way we do business together. Prior to social media’s not so subtle takeover of the world, brands did all the talking. The internet provided an excellent platform to showcase content for consumers to read, watch, and of course purchase, now however, the customers of today no longer wish to be talked at. They want to be involved, they want to converse, and above all, they want to be engaged.
Ah, that elusive buzzword. In today’s hyperlinked world of information overload, telling a compelling story, and actually engaging your target audience is no longer a nice extra, but is actually imperative to the survival of your brand. But what if your company does not naturally lend itself to engagement?
What if you work in what is perceived as a boring industry, and sell a product like say printed business checks or cardboard boxes? Sure, it fulfills a need, brings value to its users, and does all of that like a boss, but it just doesn’t lend itself well to be pin, tweet, or like worthy. Are you doomed to be left out chewing heavily on a product that is all steak and no sizzle while your friends cash in on the wonderful opportunities social media presents?
It’s one thing to get people’s attention towards your business, but what use is having all the recognition in the world if you can’t influence them to actually engage with your business? Once you’ve got them at your site, you need to give them a reason to stay there and click on a link to register an account, subscribe to a newsletter, order a product or even just look around and find out more what it is you do.
But how do you accomplish this? Here are four fundamental elements that you need to build on to start getting conversions on your company website.
How your target audience feels about interacting with your website is one of the very first things that you need to take into consideration. Your site needs to provide the information your visitors are looking for. It has to be easily navigable for different devices (e.g. smartphones, tablets, etc.), browsers and connection speeds while still maintaining a credible and compelling design that reinforces your business’ brand.
Both large and small businesses struggle with finding the best way to market their products or services. While all kinds of companies use similar marketing techniques, the way small businesses apply the techniques will be different due to the smaller demographic and customer base. There are five basic ways small businesses can market themselves effectively.
1) Give your customers free stuff
The customer should be rewarded for their loyalty and support by getting free or discounted stuff. Businesses can put coupons in community mailers or offer coupons on receipts for future purchases. Coupons in mailers can help draw new customers to your business while receipt coupons keep customers returning every week to get deals and free items. Use these methods to offer customers free trials or free samples as well. Offering customers the chance to try out a product or service will make them more comfortable purchasing it in the future.
There was a time when big brands had a lot of control over how they were perceived and how they were portrayed in the media. Consumers had limited options when it came to communicating with brands, and the companies themselves had the power to create demand for products simply through being good at PR. Those days ended with the advent of widespread internet access and the rise of social media. Today, the power is in the hands of the consumer.
People now expect to be able to have two-way conversations with brands. Bad products are ridiculed, and news of poor customer service or unethical business practices spreads quickly. Good news travels fast too, and even small gestures can go viral and have a huge impact on your brand’s bottom line. There is also a new generation of influencers in the form of bloggers, YouTube users and internet celebrities – and any bad experiences they have with a brand will be shared with their followers and are sure to make a big impact there.
Not everybody is attracted by prospect of jobs with fat pay packages, especially if they have a desire to live life on own terms. There are numerous examples of people starting small sized ventures at home which blossomed into large companies in long run. PC giant HP’s founders started operating from a garage in Palo Alto and it grew into one of the world’s leading IT giants. If you have an entrepreneur’s spirit and teamwork and customer service skills, starting up your own business may be the best option.
However, you may want to try venturing into lesser known niche areas to make a mark for yourself and the company. Rather than joining an industry laden with cutthroat competition, changing taste of consumers and other hiccups, you may tread into uncharted territories and tap the potential.