It doesn’t matter how good you are at what you do. If you’re not selling yourself and constantly striving to acquire new customers, your business will suffer sooner or later.
I know what you’re thinking: you’re not a salesperson. You’re an expert tree surgeon/dentist/writer/all of the above, so you don’t need to worry the other stuff.
While this may the case for larger companies with dedicated sales and marketing departments, in a small business, you sometimes have to be a jack of all trades to get the job done. In other words, you need to be everything all the time; accountant, marketer, salesperson.
So how can you start thinking like a salesperson and effectively promote your business? Here’s our top five tips for small businesses.
No one knows your business better than you do. As a business owner, you were there when the first idea surfaced, when you made your first sale, when you took on your first employee. Why not use these things to your advantage, and leverage them to tell the story of your company?
As we’ve said time and time again, people respond to people, not a sales pitch. Find your niche, whether it’s the fact that you’re family-run or that you work internationally, and celebrate it. The foundation of modern digital marketing is based on telling stories to engage people whilst also providing good content for search engines. Pinpointing what makes you different and telling this story not only on your website but in your emails, brochures and in the day to day running of your business, will help people get to know you and – more importantly – remember you.
Part of telling your story is knowing exactly what you offer to customers, and why they should choose you in a crowded marketplace. This is something entirely different from knowing who you are as a business.
To truly understand your offering, you need to understand your audience, too, and identify how you can make their lives easier, or better. Once you nail this, you’ve got your sales pitch.
You’ll have heard the old school term “elevator pitch” before, and it’s still relevant in today’s sales and marketing landscape. If you had to sell your business or product in just 30 seconds – or in the duration of a lift journey – what would you say? If you can’t sum it up in a quick and concise way, go back and refine your brand story. This elevator pitch should inform your advertising, and be the first thing you communicate to new or prospective customers.
You don’t need to be online. You’ve been managing for years without it. It doesn’t matter that all of your competitors are reaping the benefits of being online. You’ll be just fine, just as you always have.
Wrong. Those who turn their backs on digital marketing are missing massive sales and promotion opportunities. Start with a good quality website (3 out of 5 consumers now search for local businesses using their smartphones, so consider making it responsive).
If you’ve already got a website, why not take your digital identity one step further with social media? If you’ve already got Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, nice work. But the work isn’t over yet. There’s many things still to think about: copywriting, split testing, outreach tactics, SEO … digital is a dynamic field that offers more opportunities every day. Keeping up will help to ensure your business stays relevant and at the forefront of your customers’ minds.
If you have a relatively small amount of clients, you may find that you spend a lot of time keeping them happy. There’s nothing wrong with this way of doing business.
However, every successful business should balance customer retention with acquisition. If your business is currently powered mostly by word of mouth recommendations, use this to your advantage. These customers will likely have had you recommended to them by someone they know and trust, and so will already view you as a valuable proposition.
Make these glowing recommendations work harder for you. Include customer testimonials, case studies, reviews and comments wherever you can. Not only will this build the trust in and authenticity of your brand, it will mean your customers can start recommending you to people they don’t know, as well as those they do.
We know what you’re thinking – why would you want to give away all of your precious knowledge and everything you’ve learnt over many years in your industry? Bear with us.
Sharing valuable information and tips demonstrates expertise and competency, positioning you as a voice of authority. More importantly, it shows transparency and confidence in your offering.
Are you a small business? How do you sell yourself – and what more could you be doing? Do you have any tips for other businesses? Share your thoughts in the comments below!