Saturday, January 29, 2011

Why buy yours instead of the others?

A Unique Selling Proposition can be summarized in one short sentence; Why buy yours instead of the others? This concept was created by American advertising executive Rosser Reeves (1910 to 1984). He believed that the only purpose of advertising was to communicate a particular company's slogan for their product or service and that this slogan should remain unchanged.
The Unique Selling Proposition (USP in short) tells the business community three pieces of information:
What you have to offer (specifics)
What you do that makes you special (something they didn’t know)
What you will do for them that would make them want to do business with you (the pitch in fifteen seconds or less).
 The catch is that the proposition must offer your potential customers a specific benefit that they see as attractive. It serves as the theme of your marketing and it is a critical tool for any business.
To create a Unique Selling Proposition, ask yourself, "What is it that my product or service offers that my competitors' products or services don’t offer?"
Before you can begin to sell your product or service to anyone else, you have to sell yourself on it. This is especially important when your product or service is similar to those around you. Very few businesses are one-of-a-kind. Just look around you: How many clothing retailers, hardware stores, shoe retailers and electricians are truly unique?
The key to effective selling in this situation is thus a "unique selling proposition" (USP). Unless you can pinpoint what makes your business unique in a world of stiff competitors, you cannot target your sales efforts successfully.
 Here's how to uncover your USP and use it to power up your sales

1) 1 – Brainstorm.

Pinpointing your USP requires some hard soul-searching and creativity. One way to start is to analyze how other businesses use their USPs to their advantage. This requires careful analysis of other companies' ads and marketing messages. If you analyze what they say they sell, not just their product or service characteristics, you can learn a great deal about how companies distinguish themselves from competitors.
Write down whatever comes to mind when you think about your business. What are you most proud of? How do you enhance your clients’ lives? What do your best clients say about you? Where does your expertise lie? Try filling out the following statement:
“I help _____________your target audience______________
who are struggling with__your target audience’s problems______________
by ______________________ your solution______________________.
For instance, _____give an example of a success story__________________.”
Find a USP "peg" on which to hang its marketing strategy. A business can peg its USP on product characteristics, price structure, placement strategy (location and distribution) or promotional strategy. These are what marketers call the "four P's" of marketing. They are manipulated to give a business a market position that sets it apart from the competition.
2) Put yourself in your customer's shoes. Too often, entrepreneurs fall in love with their product or service and forget that it is the customer's needs, not their own, that they must satisfy. Step back from your daily operations and carefully scrutinize what your customers really want. Your customers could be coming back again and again and ignoring your competition because of may be quality, convenience, reliability, friendliness, cleanliness, courtesy or customer service. Remember, price is never the only reason people buy. If your competition is beating you on pricing because they are larger, you have to find another sales feature that addresses the customer's needs and then build your sales and promotional efforts around that feature.
3) Know what motivates your customers' behavior and buying decisions. Effective marketing requires you to be an amateur psychologist. You need to know what drives and motivates customers. Go beyond the traditional customer demographics, such as age, gender, race, income and geographic location that most businesses collect to analyze their sales trends.
Once you've gone through this three-step market intelligence process, you need to take the next--and hardest--step: clearing your mind of any preconceived ideas about your product or service and being brutally honest. What features of your business jump out at you as something that sets you apart? What can you promote that will make customers want to patronize your business? How can you position your business to highlight your USP?
Don't get discouraged. Successful business ownership is not about having a unique product or service; it's about making your product stand out--even in a market filled with similar items.
The biggest question in your prospects’ minds when deciding which company to hire is “Why should I choose you to help me over every other option out there?” One way to answer this is by crafting a “Unique Selling Proposition” a concise statement that stresses the core benefits of working with you. Then ask yourself what specific benefit this provides your customers.

Now put it all together in one sentence memorable enough to use as an advertising slogan. Then use it - in your advertising, on your website, on your marketing materials - wherever it might get the attention of potential customers.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Business Cards: Powerful Marketing Tool

The business card is designed to attract and set in motion the wheels of acquiring potential users of your product or services. It provides the first impressions about who you are and how you conduct your business. It is a small-sized marketing tool that packs a big punch.

Take a moment to consider the message your business card is sending to potential clients. Does it make a silent pitch for your company's products or services? Does it create a lasting memory in the customers mind? Bottom line: does it sell and not just provide contact information?

Most business cards contain basic information such as your name and address, contact numbers, logo, email address and website if you have any. All these information are important to the growth of your business as customers use them to contact you in case they need your products or services. Should there be no immediate need of your offerings, your customers would simply keep them for future use. The question now is what is the chance of customers to keep your business cards?

The answer is actually simple.  If your card is dull, uninteresting, and disorganized, then no one would be encouraged to keep your card. It is likely that your card would only end up in the garbage bin. This makes it important to produce business cards that maintain the excitement and interest of the customers.
 Maximize the effectiveness of your business card with these 7 tips:
Stand Out From the Others
A business card that stands out promises outstanding service. Vibrant colour, eye-catching graphics and attention-grabbing slogans all add up to a winning corporate image.
For maximum impact, carefully consider the elements of size, colour, content and style to bring out the best in your card. Enhancing a sizzling slogan with head-turning graphics and bold colours, for instance, is a surefire way to grab and hold your client's attention. Finally, ensure all wording is large enough to be read at a glance, even by those with poor eyesight
Getting Down To Business
Use the back of your business card for your mission statement, testimonials, brief biography, product description, or as a re-useable discount coupon.
Creating a Colourful Impression
Colour creates a strong visual impression, so it's important to choose the colour of your business card with care. First, be sure the colours you choose complement your business image. In the case of business professionals, gold, platinum and silver inks are your best bet, since these are both formal and elegant, while suggesting an air of success.
Consider using warm colours, such as burgundy, red and green, to create a warm and inviting business card. Cool colours like blue, teal and grey, on the other hand, should be avoided, since they make less of a visual impact. Likewise, avoid standard blue and black ink on a white background; while these colours may be considered "traditional," they may also be interpreted as a lack of imagination.
For best results, use at least two colours on your business card. A glossy sheen may also be added by highlighting your card with a special varnish; this service is available at most reputed printing companies. Never compromise on quality when it comes to your business image or it will come back to haunt you!
Make Sure Your Business Card is Worth Keeping. Low quality and unprofessional cards are the first to be trashed. Pull out your business card and ensure that it conforms to the following standards. First, a business card must 3.5" by 2." Anything larger will not fit in wallets or business card holders. The card itself must give the impression of professionalism. A card that is flimsy, has perforated edges, is boring, or has ink that smudges will convey an unprofessional image. A good business card is made of high quality paper, includes an image of the company logo, and is printed in an easy to read font. Finally, a business card must include every means possible to contact you, including your phone, email, fax, voice mail, and website.

Don't Leave Home without It
A high-quality business card is a vital part of any marketing kit. More than
simply a piece of paper to be filed, it is a visual statement that helps promote your business image among potential clients.
Give Your Card Away With a Two to Three Sentence "Commercial." As you hand a potential client your card, introduce yourself and your company. Explain what your company does and how it can benefit the client. An effective "commercial" will make someone want to keep your card handy.


Attach Your Card to Everything. Staple it to flyers and brochures that your company distributes. Include an extra copy in correspondence. Hand out your card with other marketing items with your contact information printed on them such as: pens, notepads, or mouse pads. Your best or most sought-after clients should have dozens of your cards around the office.

With these in mind, always carry plenty of cards with you wherever you go; you never know when the opportunity could arise to make a new business contact! Make it a habit to hand out your cards in pairs, so people can pass them on to their friends. Finally people remember a business much easier when they are exposed to its brand name repetitively through engaging products.
Business Card Marketing 101



Thursday, January 20, 2011

Social Media

Previously there used to be a lot of doubt as to whether or not marketing yourself through social media is a worthwhile use of time, I believe it is fair to say that the doubt is long gone. In fact you risk being left out and losing on your clients.
Although there are numerous social networking sites out there, I will cover what I consider to be the four most essential and powerful ones you want to have a presence on: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
The main goals of all your social media efforts are:
To connect and communicate with people who are interested in your product or service
To drive these people to your website
To turn your product or service into money (but only after you get them to know, like, and trust you!)

Social media thus gives you the opportunity to earning the right to sell.
In this blog I will give you fairly basic, yet key information on each of these sites to enable you get started as one of your marketing strategies.

 Facebook. Is the most dominant social networking system on the planet, and currently has over 450 million members and some reports predict it will eventually rise to over one billion.
From a business standpoint, it provides you with three great locations to talk about your business:
Your personal profile page
Your business page
Your group

You are reading this blog so chances are you already have a business, or will soon. If this is the case, then having a Facebook business page is a must. Your goal being to build a huge brand, business page is the way to go, as there is no limit on the number of fans you can amass.
Keep the business page more business-oriented.Use your personal page to promote your business by inviting people to download or access free informational contents that you post.
Facebook groups are also good for business promotion.
Another idea is to join the pages of other experts in your field who share your passion and begin interacting. In fact, please go to mine and join http://www.facebook.com/pages/Patrick-JumaCom/186102531400898. Make sure to say hi while you are there.
The best part is that you can build an audience on Facebook in very little time per day. On average, I spend a maximum of thirty minutes a day on the site each workday. I will pop on throughout the day, post a comment, check my personal page, check my business page, respond to messages, check the newsfeed, interact a bit, and move on.

Twitter.
Twitter has a following of 190-plus million people and is an important source in building a business. Below are the top ten reasons why business people need to be on Twitter. 
1. Twitter allows you to listen to what people are saying about you, your product, your service, your business, and your competitors.
2. Twitter is perfect for market research. You can instantly find out what people want, what they need, what they hate, and what they love.
3. Joint ventures. Are the fastest way to build your list, and Twitter is the perfect place to find like-minded professionals in your industry with whom to collaborate.
4. It is the perfect way to network with your target audience. Twitter is the new way to attend a networking meeting. You can quickly meet and connect with the exact type of people you want to without expending the effort, time, energy, and money required in traditional networking.
5. Attract press and media. Your presence on Twitter can create a snowball effect in which you begin to get noticed both online and offline by magazines, newspapers, and television networks.
6. Get speaking engagements. Twitter exposure helps you to become known as an expert in your field, which can lead you to book speaking gigs.
7. Twitter is the perfect place to create a community of like-minded individuals.
8. Drive traffic to all of your other media vehicles. With Twitter you can lead and drive people to your other social media sites, like Facebook, YouTube, your blog, and your website.
9. You can teach people about your business. By taking the time to develop relationships on Twitter (aka getting people to know, like, and trust you), you can begin to qualify potential leads and teach them why they need your product or service.
10. Create a virtual sales team. Your customers on Twitter will be talking about you and your services to their community, thus basically becoming a free sales team for you.

My advice is to commit to one full year on Twitter. Take the time necessary to get established as an expert and decide for yourself if it is worthwhile.

 LinkedIn. Since its inception in 2003, LinkedIn.com has collected résumé data and business networks of over forty million members. It is the largest and most well-known business-oriented social network on the Web. I have found it to be much more limited than other networks (like Facebook), yet it is a great place to get recommended and to recommend others and their services. You can quickly set up an account and start connecting with tens of thousands of people quickly. And, unlike Facebook and Twitter, you do not really need to spend time on the site on a regular basis.

 YouTube. YouTube.com is my favorite video platform. It is by far the largest source for online video with over one hundred million people watching close to seven billion videos per month. With YouTube you can easily establish a profile, upload videos, and create your own channel.
I create and edit my videos with my digital camera (extremely easy to do), and then upload the videos (ten-minute maximum length allowed) onto YouTube. I then copy and paste the embed code (again simple to do) into a new blog post.
It is simple and free to have YouTube host the videos. Plus, the exposure I get on YouTube is powerful.

Social media enables you to connect and communicate with your audience hence the opportunity to earning the right to sell.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Business Networking - Methods and Techniques of Professional Networking

Joining professional associations can be a very powerful tool for growing your business. It is in such forums that you meet more people and the more people you know, the more friends you have. These people you meet are consumers, their families, their friends, their suppliers and their customers and all people who might be interested in what you have to sell if they got to know you and your product or service. So, how do you start? 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Obtain Referrals to Increase Your Sales

Did you know that each human being has at least 250 people in his or her circle of influence? Making contact with one satisfied customer will give you the chance to increase your referrals exponentially. Referral marketing is not only an effective way to boost your sales; it is also a great tool to establish a pool of loyal customers.

Referral marketing is basically a process in which you ask someone to introduce you to or give contact information of potential customers. Many of your prospects are comfortable dealing with sales persons who have been referred by someone they know. A benefit of this type of sales method is the high success rate in making these probable customers as loyal clients. This concept of referral marketing or word-of-mouth advertising helped me turn a loss making branch in to a profit centre. Statistics show that you have over a 50% chance of closing a sale through referral system compared to the cold calling. Because of referrals I was able to close at least 80 % of the prospects I met.

Prior to asking your clients for referrals, you must ensure that they are satisfied and pleased with the product or service they have received. Referral marketing is based on trust, when people realize that you are sincere in your efforts to offer quality products or services, they will not be hesitant in making referrals for you and your business. This is the reason why you should always consider your customers needs before yours. Offer them a service that goes beyond their expectations and you can be sure that they will spread word positively concerning your business even without you asking them to do so.

You can implement the referral process by asking customers for referrals or offering incentives to them for referrals. For example, you could offer a 10 percent discount on the next purchase or contract after customers' referrals become new customers.

Requesting referrals and implementing the referral system are both very basic. First, build a relationship with customers. Once you are confident that the customer has a favorable attitude and opinion of the company, it is the ideal time to begin requesting customer referrals. These referrals include the customer's colleagues, friends, or competitors, which can create a huge network and more sales. It is important, that once a referral system is implemented, you create, maintain, and improve relationships with new customers while continuing to build networks. These new customers are candidates for additional referrals. Sales professionals who continue to build this process and improve their customer relations will definitely see a marked improvement in their overall sales and number of customer accounts.

The Referral Advantage - How to increase your referrals and grow your Landscape business now!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Listening Builds Sales Relationships

Selling is helping your prospect make a decision, and for you to do it successfully, communication skills are very important. There are really only three ways you can communicate: listen, ask questions and make statements.

Start by asking your prospect open questions, listen attentively and lean forward, face the prospect directly rather than at an angle. Track the speaker with your eyes and listen without interruption.
The next step becomes making a case for the solutions you want to show your prospect.

In the history of selling nobody ever listened themselves out of a sale. A winner listens; a loser just waits until it’s his turn to talk. Joe Girard ,the Detroit salesman who is credited in the Guinness Book of Records  as the world’s greatest sales man put it in a nutshell when he said ‘God  gave us two ears and one tongue  so we could listen more than we talk’ .It was that philosophy that helped him sell 1425  individual cars in one year.

The ability to pay close, uninterrupted attention to a person when he is speaking is the main listening skill. It is the hardest facility to develop and is equally the most important of all. It requires continuous practice and discipline. And it’s not easy. It is hard to keep your thoughts from wandering, but the payoff is tremendous

Remember: Silent and Listen are spelt with the same letters
 Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions: A Tactical Playbook for Managers and Executives

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Key to Success- Have a Daily Routine


One of my memorable achievements during my career as a Branch Manager was turning a loss making branch into a profit center. Looking back, one would ask, what did I do differently that gave these results? Daily Routine.
 Sales professionals and managers are always under constant pressure to deliver results. We all have the best of intentions and great plans but we normally fail to deliver because there wasn’t a system of execution to see them through. When it comes down to it, your new plans, your new actions, your new behavior, have to be implemented into your monthly, weekly and ultimately daily routine. A routine is something you do every day without fail… and eventually without thinking about it.
As a Branch Manager I had a monthly, weekly and daily routine .At the beginning of each month I would challenge each sales team member during the sales meeting to set their monthly sales target. I would then ask them to break the targets to weekly and daily targets. Boring as one of my colleagues would later come to tell me, I would hold daily sales meeting for 15 minutes to; align all team members to the Branch goals and get their commitments on the sales they will deliver by the end of that day. 
The success of turning the branch into a profit center was due to the routine I developed of daily focusing the team on the sales goals and actions to achieving them.
How do you remember to keep your teeth healthy, your ears clean, your skin hydrated, the kids’ homework done, etc. You have incorporated the daily behaviors into a routine.
Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.”
Therefore to achieve your big goals and strategic plans, build a monthly, weekly and daily routine.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Difference between Goal Setting and Goal Achieving


In Sales, there is a huge difference between goal setting and goal achieving. Many set goals, few achieve them. To set goals you need a piece of paper and a pencil. To achieve goals you need a system of execution and performance–on, that will guide you every step of the way, all year-long.
Start by setting goals that are specific; don’t say that I want to make millions of shillings in sales this year. Set a clear goal to achieve a sales target of 150 million Kenya shillings by December 2011.
Then have a clear strategy based on the overall mission and vision of the company. This is a course of action to achieve the goals set for instance to achieve a sales increase of 60 per cent. The strategy in this particular case would be to: increase brand awareness, create better relationships with existing customers and finally create new customers.
With the strategy in place, devise tactics to implement it. Tactic is the choice of action. Tactic can be changed quickly according to market conditions and reactions of the competitor. Tactic takes creativity and surprise.1- 5 tactic for each strategy is enough.
An example, for Brand awareness; regular newspaper adverts, FM radio adverts and wall painting would suffice. On creating better relationship with customers, visiting customers once a month and breakfast meeting with the customer would be appropriate. Tactics for getting new customers would be devising ways to Customer Preference.
Lastly, follow up consistently, evaluate and get feedback.  

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