July 26, 2014

Sales and Marketing Advice for Florida business

Sell more, faster with better sales leads

Ron Stein | 5/10/2013

Before you can sell your product or service, you’ll need lots of workable sales leads. Not just because that’s the obvious beginning of the marketing process, but because you also need to meet short-term revenue goals.

No leads, no revenue. You want more leads and you want them now!

You can hire appointment setters, send out press releases, run contests, call everyone you know, place online advertising, or show up at all the events you can think of. The possible tactics are almost endless. In spite of this, no matter what you try it’s usually not enough.

Why? You don’t want to generate just any lead -- you want leads that turn into buyers. And the sooner the better.

Aside from the obvious need to target only your ideal prospects, you must build a value-added marketing machine. It’ll take a bit of patience and persistence, so the more quickly you get going, the faster the payoff will be.

Still, there are things you can do as part of your marketing strategy that will have a positive short-term impact while laying the foundation for long-term success.

Companies that understand customers the best win. A long time ago I discovered that it was important to “give to get” with value added marketing. To some people that just means content marketing -- but that’s only part of it. Demonstrate that you understand the problems your target audience needs to solve and provide the information that they must have to solve them. Make a real connection. Deliver this in the form of stories, testimonials, and case studies to where your ideal prospects hang out -- online and offline. This will get their attention on any budget.

Find the balance between giving and selling. Don’t wait until your blog, videos, or ebooks are ready to go. Create a message that resonates with your ideal market and have basic sales materials with relevant information -- then get out there and sell your stuff! Action creates opportunities. Think like your prospects: Where are they? How do they like to get their information? Who else do they buy from that you can partner with? Caution is required here -- when you become too “now” focused you might push prospects that aren’t ready to buy off to the side and forget about them. Instead take those leads and nurture them with frequent touches in some way. Now get going and get a ton of leads!

500 business cards in a fish bowl are not sales leads. When you use some sort of an incentive to collect leads be prepared for lots of unqualified leads. This goes beyond using an actual fish bowl at an event or anywhere you think potential leads might gather. This lead generation tactic has been used in print advertising, post card mailings, email, and online. The point here is that you don’t want to generate just any lead -- you want leads that have a reasonable possibility of turning into buyers. It’s OK to use this technique, but only when you focus your energy on prospects that have demonstrated a need for your product. That takes some work and requires deep knowledge of your market. Develop an ideal prospect profile and if you are convinced that they are in a certain location, or visit your website, or fill up 99% of your mailing list, then offer an incentive. Otherwise, it’s a waste of energy and money.

There never seems to be enough leads. Most business owners and executives will say that lead generation is the toughest part of marketing and selling. I bet you agree. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Invest the time getting to know your market, lay a strategic foundation, understand the steps of the buying process, and develop information tools. You’ll sell more, faster, when you demonstrate how your product or service solves the problems of your target market. Building a value-added marketing machine is critical to both long-term and short-term success.


Read earlier columns from Florida Trend's business coach, Ron Stein
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Ron Stein is President of FastPath Marketing (www.marketing-strategies-guide.com). He works with small business owners, helping them to energize their marketing and sell more of their products and services. Ron has developed his own highly successful 7-step approach to winning new customers as a result of his experience as a small business owner, corporate CEO, marketing and business development executive, salesman, and mentor at two nationally recognized business accelerators. Ron offers one-on-one and small group mentoring, conducts seminars, and consults. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or Ron@FastPathMarketing.com.

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