Tag Archives: sales techniques

Facebook Friends Share; Pinterest People Purchase

9 六月

Pinterest users are 79 percent more likely to purchase items they see pinned on the site compared to the purchasing behavior of Facebook users viewing items they’ve seen on the news feed or a friend’s wall, according to a new survey released from behavioral commerce company SteelHouse.

Thirty-three percent of Facebook users said they have purchased a product or service that they’ve seen in a Facebook ad, on the news feed or on a friend’s wall, compared to 59 percent of Pinterest users who have made a purchase based on an item they saw on the pinboarding site. However, Facebook remains consumers’ top choice for getting ideas on what products or services to purchase, according to the survey, and is also the preferred choice for social product sharing. More than one half of those surveyed said they regularly share their online purchases.

Fifty-five percent of shoppers prefer to share their purchases on Facebook, followed by Twitter (22 percent), Pinterest (14 percent), and Instagram (5 percent). LinkedIn bottomed the list with only 3 percent of respondents using it to socially share purchases.

When asked about mobile shopping, 43 percent of those surveyed said they have downloaded a retailer’s mobile app and primarily use the app to browse for items (32 percent), make purchases (22 percent), and earn discounts and deals (26 percent). When making purchases, though, close to one third of respondents said they prefer to make purchases from a retailer’s online store versus that retailer’s mobile app.

In addition to getting more social and mobile with shopping, 98 percent of shoppers say that online customer reviews have a major influence on their decision to purchase a product or service. Seventy-two percent of consumers said that they always read reviews before making a purchase, while 26 percent of consumers only sometimes read reviews before purchasing.

By: http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/blogs/posts/archive/2012/05/30/facebook-users-share-products-pinterest-users-purchase.aspx?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter

When reading product reviews, 83 percent of shoppers take both the star rating and written comments into consideration. Star ratings are particularly important, as half of all respondents said the lowest star rating they would accept when making a purchase is three stars on a five-star scale.

Beyond just checking out reviews, many respondents said they also write reviews. Sixty-eight percent of shoppers say they rate and review products on a regular basis. The top product categories they write reviews on are electronics (23 percent), DVDs/CDs/MP3s (14 percent), books and clothing (both 13 percent).

10 Ways to Boost Sales on Your Ecommerce Website

9 六月

It’s fairly simple now to become an online entrepreneur, thanks to technology and social media. Making a profit, on the other hand, is not always simple. There are small details that could greatly affect how your business thrives on the Internet — you can’t just put up an ecommerce portal and expect customers to come rolling in.

Building the smartest (and most successful) business website requires a lot of consideration. Online retailers must balance web design and development with marketing practices to successfully drive sales.

To add to the balancing act, your website and business will benefit when you consider what your customer wants and needs. Most are looking for a simple, straightforward shopping experience. Think about it — when is the last time you felt that way in a mall? There’s a reason shoppers are flocking to the web for their commerce needs — everything is tailored to them.

We’ve gathered a few tips for a successful ecommerce platform in the gallery below, some of which were suggested by Sucharita Mulpurur, an analyst at Forrester, and Ben Zifkin, CEO of Hubba.

Whether you’re a small business owner or an online shopper — as a customer, what features do you appreciate when you’re purchasing something on the web? Share your thoughts in the comments.

支付產業聚焦 – 你知道 PayPal 怎麼賺錢嗎?

1 五月

發表於 <!––><!––> TechOrange

台灣網路以及 App 創業市場最近相當火紅,但是我自己覺得支付產業這個網路世界中的利潤高規模大的項目好像是大家相對不熟悉的一環,跟一些人聊過後我發現理由大都是因為金融相關東西容易讓人有距離感,因為金融產品都會跟法規有所牽扯相當麻煩,不然就是大家都習慣用現有的支付選擇,信用卡交易以及超商付款很安全很方便,何必去想什麼創新呢?但事實上支付產業在世界各地不斷地有著破壞式的創新,讓網路跟行動支付的風險更小成本更低,在科技使用發達的台灣絕對也有著不可小看的潛力;所以我決定開始一系列的文章介紹現在網路以及行動支付產業在全世界一些有名的案例,希望可以提供大家一些想法,待法規更趨成熟後能有更多創業的資源以及人才投入到這個領域!今天就讓我們從全球網路支付龍頭 – PayPal 開始吧!

相信大家都對於 PayPal 不陌生,用 PayPal 可以免除輸入信用卡號碼的麻煩,也可以避免信用卡資料外流的風險,但是大家知道 PayPal 到底是怎麼賺錢嗎?要解答這個問題錢,讓我們先看看金流是怎麼在這個平台上運作的,說穿了 PayPal 是一個結合了電子金流 (Payment Gateway) 以及電子錢包 (e-wallet) 的平台,電子金流連結了信用卡交易系統以及銀行清算系統,資金可以透過這兩個管道進到 PayPal 的銀行帳戶,不管你選擇先儲值在自己的帳戶中,還是將自己帳戶連結到一個信用卡號碼或者銀行帳戶,PayPal 最後都會把這筆金額轉換成電子貨幣的形式儲存在你的電子錢包裡。但是我們要記得當你使用信用卡交易的時候,銀行在把錢清算給 PayPal 時照樣會扣除一筆手續費,所以當你用信卡交易 100 元, PayPal 雖然在你帳戶顯示 100 元,但是實際上可能只收到了98 元;但是稍後當你把這 100 元拿去商家交易的時候,PayPal 若是跟商家收高於 2 元,那他就可以在這個過程中創造利潤,最後再扣掉壞帳損失 (例如帳戶被盜用等) 就會是它的毛利。下面我簡短介紹一下 PayPal 在這三個項目中做了哪些事情去增加它的毛利

1. 交易收入 (Take Rate):除了提高跟商家的收費以外,跨國交易所產生的手續費用以及外匯是另外一個很主要的收入來源,當全世界更多消費者以及商家加入 PayPal ,它就能夠創造更多跨國交易,這也是為什麼 PayPal 很積極地在國際上布局去創造網路效應,讓更多人用 PayPal 在全世界的網路商家都能消費。

2. 交易資金成本 (Transaction Expense):相對於信用卡交易,銀行轉帳其實是相對便宜的,所以你在各個國家都會發現 PayPal 很努力地在跟使用者推銷將 PayPal 帳號連接到銀行帳號,進而大幅降低它的交易資金成本,我自己在英國的 PayPal 帳戶就是直接連接到英國銀行帳戶,透過當地的即時清算系統 PayPal 可以在交易發生的同時間從我的銀行帳戶扣款, 一個 100 英鎊的交易成本瞬間從 1.25 英鎊降到 0.2 英鎊以下,直接就差了 1%。

3. 壞帳損失 (Loss Rate):大家也許不知道  PayPal 在剛起飛的時候,單月的壞帳金額曾經高達 100 萬美元, 創辦人 Max Levchin 當時傾全力針對交易資料做了側底分析後才打造了 PayPal 防盜以及防詐欺交易的系統,這套系統很少被提及,因為 PayPal 了解這個系統是一間支付公司能否成功的關鍵,所以他們盡可能不去洩漏任何關於他們在這各方面的知識以及經驗,也從來沒有申請專利,因為申請專利你就得把所有的資料公諸於世。

讓我們看一下PayPal Q1 2012 財報第 8 頁,你就可以看到這三個數字是 PayPal 商業模式中最重要的三個元素,也是他們每一季財報上的關鍵數字;PayPal 在過去五季中展現了他們優良的經營績效 – 交易收入不斷向上、交易資金成本持續向下、壞帳損失幾乎是持平,所以在單季交易金額從 280 億美元攀升到 330 億美元的過程中,毛利率盡然也能夠同時向上攀升,怪不得財報公布當天 eBay 的股價跳升超過 10 個百分點,因為這些數字證明了 PayPal 這個平台有能力在世界各個市場持續擴張並維持健全的投資報酬率,這絕對是其他競爭者短時間很難複製以及挑戰的。

另外這也是為什麼 PayPal 有著進軍實體通路的本錢;面對大型連鎖通路, PayPal 比起銀行更有議價的空間,當銀行服務費用大都得從 1.5% 談起的時候,PayPal 有著相對低的交易資金成本,面對小型商家的時候, PayPal Here 可以將它龐大的網路使用者帶到零售通路,提供一個更便捷且快速的交易選擇,這個戰場界線的模糊又再次地證明真正的贏家必須創造一個「實體 + 網路 + 行動」三個領域合一的消費者體驗,接下來我們應該可以看到 PayPal 更積極地在所有的領域全面開戰,因為當人們的生活以及消費隨著科技改變,最需要被解決的就是支付的問題,PayPal 應該比誰都清楚。

後記:有興趣的人可以想想 PayPal 怎麼進軍 B2B 支付市場去搶銀行的飯碗,以及 PayPal 如何在手機內應用交易 (In-app purchasing) 跟 Google、Apple 以及 Amazon 競爭,有些我會在之後的文章提到。

By: http://www.appguru.com.tw/appguru/blog/6729/payment-industry-focused-you-know-that-paypal-is-how-to-make-money-you

Facebook Launches ‘Facebook Offers’ For Businesses

9 三月

A few select brands on Facebook are currently running tests of a new Facebook product for businesses called “Offers.” The most recent Offer, which generated a fair amount of buzz in the past week, was posted by Macy’s. Macy’s first posted the Offer on Thursday, February 23rd at 7:11am Pacific with an expiration date of February 26th. The Offer was: “Get 25% off your purchase of $100 or more.

The Offer jumped out at me in my News Feed last Thursday when a friend of mine (plus six others!) claimed the Offer. Then I saw the Offer repeatedly in my News Feed, so clicked through to Macy’s to check it out on their wall too.

Facebook Offers - Marsh Engle Claimed Macy's

Simple, one-click claim – INCLUDING on mobile!

What’s super exciting about this new Facebook product for businesses, is the absolute simplicity and ease with which users can claim the Offer. Literally ONE click and Facebook lets you know the Offer is in your email inbox!

Facebook Offers - One Click Claim

Users can claim the Offer from the wall of the brand’s fan page.

Or, users can claim the Offer from their News Feed. Including MOBILE. Hello? Yes, mobile. Now that is thrilling.

More than half of Facebook’s 845 Million active users access the site via their mobile devices. Imagine the possibilities of Offers for your business! For local businesses. Wow. I haven’t been this excited about a new Facebook product since…. well, since last September when Subscribe came out. ;)

On that note, feel free to Subscribe to my Timeline public updates! Click the button below:

//www.facebook.com/plugins/subscribe.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fmaris&layout=standard&show_faces=true&colorscheme=light&font=arial&width=450&appId=102079246572280

Einstein Bros Bagels Offer

By way of example on how super easy it is to claim an Offer on mobile, check out this recent Offer by Einstein Bros Bagels (claimed over 25,000 times so far!). I didn’t see this in my News Feed, per se. I just pulled up Einstein Bros Bagels on my iPhone and did the uber easy one-click claim:

Einstein Bros Bagles - Facebook Offer

And after the one-click (or one-touch, really, on iPhone!):

Einstein Bros Bagels - Facebook Offer Claimed

Credit to AK Stout and this post on SayingItSocial.com where a commenter pointed out the Einstein Bros Bagels offer.

Redeem by email, share from email

Not only can users easily claim the offer from their News Feed – on any computer or mobile device – the actual offer can be redeemed simply by showing the coupon on your phone to Macy’s staff. See the email below:

Facebook Offers - Claim Email

And, notice the big “Share Offer” button in the email. LOVE that. Boom – one-click claim. Instant gratification. And another one-click to share with friends!

Key takeaways from Macy’s Offer

Some points to note about Macy’s offer:

  • The offer was clean, simple, obvious and used a “%” sign and a “$dollar” amount.
  • Macy’s chose an extremely eye-catching image of a red shoe and a blue shoe on a white background, clearly chosen very strategically (red, white and blue = power color combo!). Plus, the fact it’s shoes – I don’t know any female out there who doesn’t love shoes. (Of course, many men claimed the Offer too!)
  • The choice of verbiage in the Offer was compelling: starting with “Get” (mirrored with the “Get Offer”), and the use of “save” and “BIG.” Clever!
  • Macy’s first posted the Offer on February 23rd, and posted it again on February 25th (Saturday morning at 7am Pacific) with the the description “Just two days left to get a head start on spring shopping!” (Einstein Bros Bagels did the same repeating of the Offer on its fan page wall, which of course goes into the fans’ News Feed again).

  • Ultimately, 41,602 people claimed the Macy’s Offer. And the original Offer post was shared a total of 2,491 times and the reminder of the Offer shared 374 times. Awesome social proof!

See also Build-A-Bear Workshop‘s Facebook page for this Offer. (Credit to AK Stout for spotting it).

Will Facebook unveil Offers at the FMC today? [Update: Yes!]

Congrats, Facebook. I do believe you’ve found simplicity on the other side of complexity with this new Offers product.

Will Offers be one of the BIG new product launches announced at the Facebook Marketing Conference today? Rumor has it Facebook is unveiling a whopping 7 new changes/products/upgrades. We know that one will be Timeline for Pages. Another is new Premium Ads. And a third surely has to be these Offers—well, in fact I understand that Offers is part of the new Premium Ads product. [Update: turns out Offers are a standalone product and appear to be FREE to create and share! Select Pages only, so far.] And, I heard last Friday from a reliable source that currently only around 25 big brands even know about Offers. Hm, still, I sure hope the product is imminent for the rest of us.

Stay tuned for more. I’ll be watching the Livestream of the FMC and tweeting and posting my thoughts on my Facebook page and profile.

By: http://www.marismith.com/facebook-offers/

Facebook May Release New Premium Ad Product Feb. 29

9 三月

Facebook may announce a complete overhaul of its premium ads at next Wednesday’s invitation-only Facebook Marketing Conference in New York.

February 29 is shaping up to be a monster day for Facebook, as the social network will also reportedly announce the beginning of beta-testing of timeline for businesses, also at its FMC event.

The information below, as well as the screen shots, comes from leaked documents obtained by Peter Corbett, chief executive officer of social agency iStrategyLabs, and posted by GigaOM.

According to the documents, the following ad types will be phased out at the end of this month:

  • Premium like, photo and video;
  • Premium event, photo and video;
  • Video comment; and
  • Premium poll, photo and video.

Premium standard ads (links to destination off Facebook, photo and video) will still be available, as will marketplace ads, which are not affected since they are not considered part of the homepage.

The leaked document outlined the six types of premium ads that will be available as of the end of February:

  • Status updates: Up to 150 characters of text, no additional media;
  • Photos: Up to 90 characters of text, 185-pixel-by-104-pixel thumbnail, 16:9 aspect ratio (we previously reported the reduction from 135 characters to 90);
  • Videos: Up to 90 characters of text, 185-pixel-by-104-pixel thumbnail, 16:9 aspect ratio;
  • Links: Up to 90 characters of text, 75-pixel-by-75-pixel thumbnail;
  • Questions: Four answers will be displayed — three, plus a “see more” link; and
  • Events: Up to 90 characters of text, 75-pixel-by-75-pixel thumbnail.

The leaked documents say that the social network will offer the same analytics reporting options as it does with its current classic and premium ads. However, the revamped premium ads will only accommodate impression tags, and not click tags for third-party tracking.

The documents also say that Facebook’s team will provide advertisers with specific instructions based on their needs for each campaign.

The introduction of the new premium ads reads:

The ad is created from the content of your page post. Anything you can post on your page, you can turn into an ad.

When the person seeing your ad has friends who are fans of your page, we’ll automatically expand the ad with enhanced social context about those friends, at no extra cost to you.

When fans see your ad, they’ll see an expanded interface below the ad that lets them like or comment on the post directly from the ad.

And the documents’ concluding pitch is as follows:

At Facebook, we believe that businesses will be better in a connected world. We connect 800 million people and their friends to the things they care about. Your page is the place where your business connects with people, and premium ads and featured stories help you reach those people, and their friends, more often.

Premium Ads are more effective when they start from page posts. These ads put your page’s voice on the homepage, in front of your ideal audience. For your fans and their friends, it will expand to show how friends are connected to your brand alongside your message, all in one. This social context appears at no additional cost to you.

Premium Ads with enhanced social context are 80 percent more likely to be remembered, driving 40 percent higher engagement and a significant increase in purchase intent.

Facebook Premium Ads Overviewhttp://www.scribd.com/embeds/82289675/content?start_page=1&view_mode=list

By: http://www.allfacebook.com/premium-ads-facebook-2012-02

Why You Need E-Commerce Video Now

8 六月

The biggest takeaway from the State of Video in E-Commerce that we published several months ago, citing conclusions from SundaySky’s Q4 2010 report, was that the large majority of online merchants have thus far underutilized or altogether neglected this simple yet potentially very valuable medium.

The latest release from SundaySky includes new data from the first quarter of 2011, and while relatively little has changed in terms of retailers’ widespread adoption, it appears that consumers’ appetite for e-commerce video continues to grow.

The increasing interest from online shoppers, combined with retailers’ general inability to meet that demand, presents a unique opportunity for ambitious merchants both large and small. Below are some of the key findings from SundaySky, which paints a very convincing picture of why you need to implement e-commerce video as soon as possible.

Give consumers what they want
The number of subscribers to online retailers’ YouTube channels increased 21 percent from the fourth quarter of 2010 to the first quarter of 2011. That number climbed to 571,000 subscribers to retail channels, totaling 420 million views of retail videos on YouTube alone – a 13-percent increase. Meanwhile, the number of retail videos posted on YouTube reached nearly 96,000 during Q1 2011, which represents a 9-percent increase. Shoppers are consuming e-commerce video at a significantly faster rate than merchants are providing it, but that window of opportunity is closing.

All or nothing for major retailers
Among the largest online retailers in the world, it seems that video is either being mass-scaled or all but ignored. Thirty-two percent of the top 50 online merchants boasted more than 1,000 videos on their sites in Q1 2011, compared to 22 percent in the previous quarter. However, 36 percent of the top 50 had fewer than 10 videos on their sites, and a staggering 68 percent of all retailers are not yet exploiting the obvious and accessible rewards of on-site e-commerce videos – in any way, shape or form.

Time to act is now
While the large majority of retailers continue to ignore the benefits of video, a definite shift is taking place in the e-commerce industry. The number of major retailers posting more than 100 videos on YouTube during the first quarter of 2011 increased by 15 percent since the fourth quarter of 2010, indicating that the race may be on. Still, that number represents the minority, with 48 percent of the top 50 surpassing the 100-video mark.

Enormous SEO benefits
According to the SundaySky report, nearly 18 percent of the major search engine results pages during the first quarter of 2011 contained video results, and most video results for retail-related keywords were posted only on YouTube. In an analysis of 34,000 top keywords within 17 categories from Shopping.com’s top searches, computer gaming had the highest presence of video results while furniture had the lowest.

Getting results
Zappos has for a long time been a benchmark of many online retail best practices, and its use of e-commerce video is no exception. The company annually generates more than half a million dollars in incremental revenue simply by following video SEO guidelines, and the amount of traffic accredited to video results is estimated at more than 77,000 visits per month.

While Zappos is one of the top 50 retailers to adopt e-commerce video on a massive scale, smaller retailers simply need to get into the game rather than watch from the sidelines. From posting a handful of simple product videos onto your site to leveraging your company’s own YouTube channel and building out your brand, the power of video is growing and too many retailers are missing out.

By: http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/blogs/posts/archive/2011/06/06/why-you-need-e-commerce-video-now.aspx?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Website-Magazine+%28Website+Magazine%29

Why Marketing Hurts Your Growth and What to Do About It

8 六月

If people don’t trust you and aren’t paying attention, what can you do? This is a big challenge for businesses.

Naturally, you might be asking some of these questions:

  • How can I attract quality leads, prospects and opportunity without actively selling?
  • Is there an easy way to establish trust with prospects and customers? Can I break through the noise?

There is good news.

How to Build a Raving Fan Base

If you want to connect with customers and attract raving fans, the solution is very simple: Focus on people.

You can meet the needs of people by helping them solve their problems at no cost. Remember that people’s core desires don’t change. Your audience wants access to great insight and people.

When you help people with their smaller problems, many will look to you for their bigger issues. If you can multiply free assistance by hundreds, thousands or millions of people, you can rapidly grow your business.

Content enables this!

When you provide engaging “how-to” information and assistance in the form of valuable gifts (without strings attached), it triggers the “How much more?” question. “How much more value will I gain if I hire this company or buy this product?” is the response many will have when they see the great value you provide for free.

I’ve developed a simple formula to show you how to grow.

Introducing the Elevation Principle

Here’s my formula for growth. It’s called the elevation principle. When you follow this model, you’ll be able to take your business to new heights.

The elevation principle: Great content PLUS other people MINUS marketing messages EQUALS growth!

elevation formula

When you combine great content that’s focused on the needs of your audience and lacks any obvious marketing messages with other people, your business can rapidly grow.

When you offer great content—such as detailed how-to articles, expert interviews, case studies and videos—that focuses on helping other people solve their problems, you’ll experience growth. Why? Because this type of content meets the needs of people. It doesn’t focus on you, your products or your company. It is a true gift to your audience.

The “other people” component not only means focusing on the needs of people. It also transcends your reader base and involves reaching out to people outside your company, such as industry experts. These outside experts possess amazing knowledge that your audience will find very valuable.

The last part of the formula is to deliver this content in a marketing-free zone. Once the marketing messages are caged, the focus of your company shifts from “What can we sell you?” to “How can we help you?” You shift from pitching products to boosting people. Instead of investing in ad space, you invest in creating content, experiences, gathering places and communities where people who need help can find it.

You have the chance to own the place people go to for help, eliminating your reliance on traditional marketing channels. You can become the center of your industry, niche or local market. And when that happens, you’re launched on an unstoppable trajectory that will take you places you never imagined possible.

The result: You no longer need to sell! Instead, you demonstrate your expertise by the content you produce, the ideas you showcase, the stories you share and the people you attract. By creating a platform for others, you can also build strategic alliances, quickly grow a large following and dominate your industry.

launch

When you follow the elevation principle, your business will experience rapid growth while your competitors will struggle to survive.

With the old forms of marketing, you pitch and sell. People ignore you and your business is at risk. With the new method, you give gifts, people trust you and you become indispensable. Which course will you take?

By: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/why-marketing-hurts-your-growth-and-what-to-do-about-it/

8 Ways to Successfully Sell Using Social Media

5 五月

Here are 8 ways to strike up social media conversations with people you want to meet:

#1: Boil the Frog

There’s an old wives’ tale (some truth to it), that if you put a frog in boiling water, it will sense the heat and jump out. But put a frog in cool water and turn up the heat slowly and the frog will hardly notice.

When reaching out online to people you’d like to meet, don’t come on like gangbusters. Nothing screams “jump out of the hot pot” more than a blatant “let’s talk so I can sell you something” message.

Start cool and warm up slowly. Comment on their blog post. Retweet them thoughtfully. Compliment something they wrote. Become familiar to someone—even if they don’t engage you right away—and it’s more likely that they’ll engage you in the future.

For example, this person wrote to me personally, said something pleasant and left it there. Nice start!

twitter

Dr. Rachna Jain, who studies the psychology of social media, says, “When people see you more, they like you more. The shorthand is that familiarity breeds likeability. Especially if you’re seen as giving them value or good content or information.”

#2: Givers Gain

The world of social media changes faster than the Clippers change coaches. But some things never change—like the golden rule of networking (social or otherwise).

The golden rule? Givers gain. (Bet you figured that out from the section header.)

As Dr. Jain said, “…especially if you’re seen as giving them value or good content or information.” How? Share a white paper. Share a relevant piece of research. Invite them to a private local business event.

Remember, starting relationships can take many touches. Do this right, and people will perceive you as valuable even before you interact with them personally (which we’re getting to), and you boil the frog at the same time.

#3: Make Henry Kissinger Proud

There’s an old story that’s been told and retold about how Henry Kissinger approached getting the best out of his staff. Before reviewing anything from his people, he’d ask, “Before I look at this… is it your best work?“, and the staff would go back and keep working until they could say yes.

When reaching out through social media, give it your Henry Kissinger effort.

As president of a company and publisher of a reader publication (RainToday), we have about 150,000 subscribers and followers.  And they reach out to me fairly regularly and want to connect.

Many of them remain strangers because they made no effort to relate to me. A standard, “my products would be of value” overture does not catch anyone’s attention. No personalization… no genuine connection. Even something better than bad would be good.

But every once in a while, someone reaches out with real effort, energy and thoughtfulness—the kind that would make Henry Kissinger proud. Here’s an example of how one gentleman started a conversation:

LinkedIn

This example goes on with several more paragraphs explaining our connections and reasons for why we might both be interested in connecting. This contact effort was obviously customized and it resonated well with me.

#4: Be Brave

Call reluctance is common on the phone. It happens online, too. People don’t reach out online because of some kind of fear. “They won’t respond.” “They’ll say no.” “They’ll be angry with me.”

The fact of the matter is most customers believe salespeople don’t reach out enough. In the online world, there’s a heavy emphasis on the concept of inbound marketing. I think inbound marketing is a great approach. But that doesn’t mean proactive outreach—the online equivalent of cold-calling is either dead or bad. (By the way, cold-calling isn’t dead. See the research in Bloomberg Business Week from 2007. The 2010 study revealed the same thing.)

When you find a particular person you want to connect with, reach out.

As long as you keep points 1, 2 and 3 in mind, you’ll be fine. As business guru Wayne Gretzky said, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Be brave. Take shots.

#5: Be Positive and Pleasant

When some people gear up their bravery for outreach, they think, “I’m about to reach out to a big-time person. I need to seem big time too!” So they puff out their chest and brag about how awesome they are.

Who made the rule that “important” people should be temperamental and full of themselves? Not endearing. I’ve had the good fortune of interacting with lots of guru types and most of them are pleasant and humble.

Don’t try to come off as the BMOC. The fastest way to come off as inconsequential is to keep saying how influential you are.

Todd Schnick says it so well:

Actions make you influential. Not your words or tweets. People who serve, people who help others, people who share the cool things that others are doing… those are the actions that make you influential.”

Right on, Todd.

#6: Prepare for Window Shopping

When you reach out to people, expect that they’ll check you out. When someone writes to me and I’m curious, the first thing I do is Google and see what comes up.

Make sure when the people reaching out to you search for you online, you’re portrayed exactly how you want to be. Determine how your personal brand and online reputation come across, as they’ll greatly affect people’s impressions of you.

#7: Let Your Personality Shine Through

People build relationships with people they like. If you want to build relationships, be endearing. And the best way to do that? Let your personality shine through.

Boring is forgettable. Personality is memorable. And social media outlets are the perfect place for you to be yourself.

For example, in my research for this piece, I came across articles by Amy Porterfield. I visited her website, and saw her nifty little description of herself:

I BELIEVE in:

  • Hard work, but that you have to be able to throw it all away for love and family.
  • No drama. Really… not even a little!
  • Acceptance. No judgment lives here.
  • Wearing my heart on my sleeve.
  • Embracing whatever’s next.
  • But most of all, I believe that social media should be something you enjoy, not dread, every day.

No drama. Not even a little. I love it!

Now that’s letting your personality shine through.

#8: Take It Offline, When It’s Time

Social media outlets are great places for starting conversations, but they’re not the only place to have them. When the time is right, take the conversation offline.

You can start with a phone call or go right to face-to-face (assuming you’ve boiled your frog correctly). In any case, take the leap.

Selling is a contact sport. After you’ve begun your conversation and built rapport, find a good reason to take the conversation offline and see where it takes you.

And a little bonus…

There are so many social media tools available now it can be difficult to keep up. Here are a handful of tools that are helpful for lead generation and sales:

  • Google Alerts and Twitter Alerts help you find reasons to create conversations by following trigger events.
  • SocialToo can help you keep track of new and lost followers.
  • GeoChirp is good if you need to focus on a specific geography.
  • TubeMogul can help you spread the word with video.
tubemogul

TubeMogul is a video advertising and analytics platform that connects advertisers with highly targeted audiences.

  • Twellow finds people you’re looking for with a sort of Yellow Pages for Twitter.
twellow

Twellow is a directory of public Twitter accounts to help you find people who matter to you.

One last thought—selling is a big topic. There are so many approaches to succeeding with selling. I think about sales a lot, but I don’t have a corner on the best ideas by a long shot.

By: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/8-ways-to-successfully-sell-using-social-media/

Is This a Real Sales Opportunity?

29 四月
It is crazy and a total waste of time to write a proposal to solve a problem that is not important enough to justify at least SOME awareness, in the budget, that money will need to be spent to solve it.  According to top sales expert Mark Sellers (and author of the best-selling book “The Funnel Principle“), corporations go through six distinct stages when making a major purchasing decision.  These stages are as follows:

  • STAGE 1: Problem recognition. The customer is not going to buy anything unless they perceive that they have a problem that needs solving.  Note that a problem can also be an opportunity; the inability to address that opportunity represents the problem that needs solving.
  • STAGE 2: Define economic consequences. The customer can’t possibly make an intelligent decision on whether the problem is worthy of attention until they have an idea of how much the problem is costing them.  Without a dollar number attached to it, a problem is just a wish list.
  • STAGE 3: Commit Funding. If the customer recognizes that there is a problem and that the problem has economic consequences (stages 1 and 2 above), then they’ll take the next logical step and commit some funding.  They may not know the exact amount, but they’re willing to put down, in writing, a number that represents and intent to spend.
  • STAGE 4: Define Decision Criteria. It is only after the customer has gone through all three stages above, that the customer begins to define how to fix the problem.  Previously, they may have an idea of what’s needed (e.g. we need CRM because we’re losing customers to the tune of $10 million a year.), but they haven’t decided how they’ll decide which CRM system to buy.
  • STAGE 5: Evaluate Alternatives.  This is when the customer looks at what solutions are available and how those solutions fit with the budget dollars that they’ve determined are worth spending to fix the problem.  Note: if there is no firm commitment on the four previous stages, a sale is probably NOT going to take place.
  • STAGE 6: Select Vendor Solution. It is at this point that the real decision is made, based upon the commitments made at all five prior stages.  Needless to say, a vendor who has worked closely with the customer on the previous five stages is more likely to win the final business because that vendor has helped “frame” the problem, the budget, and the criteria.

In the scenario above, the prospect is still at stage 1, which means that they are not ready to evaluate a proposal.  Chances are your contact asked for a proposal, hoping it would help move the buying process along, but that’s a VERY expensive way to make that happen.

Instead, you should work with your contact on stages 2 and 3, thereby moving the buying process to point where they’ll want to write an RFP which (of course) you should offer to help them write.  At that point, you’ve got the inside track and any effort you put into writing the proposal will be an excellent investment!

By: http://www.bnet.com/blog/salesmachine/sales-quiz-is-this-a-real-sales-opportunity/15333?pg=2

Create an Opportunity in 10 Seconds

29 四月

If you don’t have a quickie sales message, you’re not ready to sell.  A quickie sales message is one that you can deliver in 10 seconds or less, but which sets up the conditions under which you can pursue a selling opportunity.

First, some background.  Last week’s post and video “Good Advice for Your Elevator Speech” received several comments criticizing the idea that an “elevator speech” should be 3 minutes long and suggesting alternative (and shorter) approaches.

Arguments like this come up is because the term “elevator speech” (aka “elevator pitch”) refers to the ludicrous notion that you’ll be end up pitching during an elevator ride.  (Yeah, right, because everybody is always so darn chatty with strangers in an elevator…)

Forget the “elevator” paradigm, and think about an actual chance meeting that might take place in a social venue or at a conference, or in a hotel lobby, or airplane.  For example, suppose somebody asks: “What do you do for a living?”

Unlike the elevator “opportunity,” this happens all the time.   To take advantage of this common situation, you need a crisp answer that provides the potential to discover whether the asker is a potential customer.  I call this the “quickie” message, for obvious reasons.  Here are the ground rules for such messages:

  • It must be less than 10 seconds long. Reason: any longer and you’ve broken the social contract of casual conversation, in which case you’ve probably irritate the asker and proven that you’re just in “sales mode.”
  • It must start with the phrase “our customer” and (emphatically) NOT “my job” or “my company.” Reason: Nobody gives a flying crap about you or your stupid firm.  They care about themselves.  Period.
  • It must contain an intriguing, quantifiable, non-trite benefit and (emphatically) NO reference to features and functions.  Reason: Nobody gives a crap about your stupid product either.  What they care about is what might change for them as the result of the product.

Please note that a quickie message is NOT a marketing tag.  And it’s not an entire “elevator pitch” by any means.  It’s short, sweet, and can be delivered anywhere, even during casual conversations.

Here are a couple of examples:

QUICKIE EXAMPLE #1: You’re selling supply chain software.  Most sales reps, if asked “what do you do for a living?” would answer something like:

“I sell for a supply chain software company whose products are the best in the industry and make people more productive.”

(BAD)

That’s lame. First, it’s about the vendor, not the customer.  Second, it makes unverifiable claims about a product category that nobody cares about, and it states a benefit that’s so trite that it’s meaningless.  Here’s a better one:

“Our customers, on average, get raw materials for two thirds what their competitors pay, because our software manages their supply chain.”

(GOOD)

Note that I didn’t start out with “I work for a company whose customers”.  Why?  That’s all assumed in the first two words “our customers.”  So why bother to add that bit of useless repetition?

QUICKIE EXAMPLE #2: You’re selling sharing services on private aircraft.  In this case, most sales reps, if asked “what do you do for a living?” would answer something like:

“I sell rental time on private aircraft so executives can have the convenience of flying privately without owning their own jet.”

(BAD)

Lame.  Once again, the message is about what the vendor does, not what the customer wants.  And the benefit is really just “saves you money” — a claim that billions of products have made since that “benefit” was first though up, probably sometime around 4500 B.C.  Here’s a better one:

“Our customers get to travel on rented private jets for around the cost of flying first class, but without the hassle of airport security.”

(GOOD)

Here’s what’s cool about this kind of “quickie” message.

  1. If you look at the contact’s face and eyes, you’ll be able to tell whether they’re interested.
  2. If they are interested, you can follow it with a natural, casual question that can lead to a deeper sales conversation.  (E.g. “Does your company have a long supply chain?”, “Do much business traveling?”)
  3. The quickie is the natural foundation for any longer speech, including the 1 minute “elevator pitch” and the 3 minute “elevator pitch.”  In fact, you can start EVERY sales presentation with that quickie message — even a 1 hour presentation.  It sets the tone perfectly for everything else you have to say.

By: http://www.bnet.com/blog/salesmachine/create-an-opportunity-in-10-seconds/4386