Sales & Marketing tips

Building a reputation for your business can be difficult and time consuming; our Top Ten Sales & Marketing Tips give advice on getting the message across and building a customer base, among other issues.

Building a reputation for your business can be difficult and time consuming; smallbusiness.co.uk’s Top Ten Sales & Marketing Tips give advice on getting the message across and building a customer base, among other issues.

1. Emphasise what makes you different from the competition
Define your unique selling points (USPs). This could be about the price of your product (or special discounts or promotions), the delivery mechanism and the areas you are prepared to deliver to, the speed of service you offer, after-sales service or methods of ordering.

2. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes
Focus all your efforts on emphasising the benefits of your product, (for example, if you make rackets, highlight how they can help hit the ball harder), rather than highlighting obvious points, such as product features. Wherever possible, mention the words ‘you’ and ‘your’, as this will help make your customers feel more individual.

3. Your message should be snappy and clear
Test it out on friends and family – do they understand what you are trying to say? You should be able to get any benefits across about your product in 30 seconds or less, so think carefully about your choice of words and how to deliver them with the most impact.

4. ‘New’ and ‘free’ are words that sell
Try and include these as often as possible, within reason. People are often wary when it comes to new products or services – offering trial periods or money-back guarantees can help to reassure potential customers. Special offers also have a wide appeal.

5. Justify every pound of your marketing budget
If you can find out a response to every piece of marketing you do, you can judge whether your money is being well spent. Keep track of the number of people who see your ads, the number that respond, those that buy, and those that buy again. Scrutinise your sales patterns.

6. Ask your customers for product endorsement
Testimonials are like gold dust. Whenever anyone says anything positive about your product or service, ask if they would mind providing an endorsement for you. The more testimonials you put together, the more confident your prospective customers will be of the service you are delivering.

7. Word of mouth works wonders
If existing customers recommend your service to friends, colleagues and associates, you stand a great chance of getting new business. This is a great way of marketing, as it involves no cost to you and the new business you get is likely to be a warm and long-lasting relationship. Consider offering incentives to existing customers if they can drum up new business, for example by offering them a scalable discount.

8. Attract customers with incentives
Too many business people miss out on sales because the customer has no reason to act immediately. Offer customers an incentive to sign up straight away, for example via a discount or free product. Whatever you’re selling, always remember to include a time-close or deadline, and state it clearly.

9. Act on feedback
No one knows more about what your customers think than your customers themselves. Take on board as much feedback as possible about your product, and take every opportunity to ask customers what they think about your product. Make sure you act on feedback (both positive and negative).

10. Know when to follow-up
Whenever a conversation takes place or you get a new lead, set a date for a follow-up, even if it’s 6 months away. If you’ve made the effort to make initial contact with a customer and even sent information, it’s criminal to miss out on the sale because you didn’t follow-up at the opportune time. The best salespeople are those that follow-up religiously.

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