Marketing Strategies for Personal Selling Facebook Twitter StumbleUpon E Print Shar FacebookEmail * ————————————————- ShareEmaiSPersonal selling is the act of orally communicating with a potential customer with the intention of closing a sale. Unlike Internet selling, you have to develop a strong personal relationship with the client or customer in order to be successful. Personal selling requires a special skill that not all people have: charisma. You must also have a voice and face that people can trust, or else they will be wary about spending money with you.
Identify and Understand Your Customer 1. Determine what segments of people are most likely to respond well to your products. Narrow the group down as far as possible. For example, if you are selling mini-laptop books, “folks who like to hang out at Starbucks” is a good general category, but you can narrow this down even further to “people who hang out at Starbucks, trade stocks and options for a living, and are constantly on the look out for the newest technology available. ” A customer from this group won’t mind a small keyboard if it is cool, new and easily displays her stock charts.
Remember that customers want the answer to this question: What is in it for me? A customer will not buy from you just because he likes you and you have a great smile (though these are important factors). You have to identify exactly what the customer needs and wants through your communications with him. Demonstrate exactly how your product or service will benefit him. Know Your Product and Tell Your Story 2. Many personal selling efforts fail because the seller does not really know much or anything about the product.
How can you sell something to another person face-to-face if you never even tried or experienced the results yourself? Test the product to determine results before trying to sell it to another person. Your pitch will be much more believable and trustworthy. People like to hear how the product or service has affected your life. Describe in detail how the product or service has helped you, saved you money, or made your life more enjoyable. Help the customer envision how the product can do the same thing in her life. Start Close to Home 3.
The best way to learn personal selling techniques is to start small and close to home. Test your selling techniques on your friends and family. Ask your loved ones for opinions about your sales pitch and what they honestly think of products. Listen. Don’t be annoying and persistent with your loved ones—you don’t want to cause your family and friends to avoid you. Just look at this strategy as more of a learning experience to teach you what does and does not work when selling. It will also show you what benefits you should push regarding the product or service. Personal Selling Online . Though personal selling is usually considered to be a face-to-face transaction, such as selling cosmetics in a customer’s home, you can also use this selling method with online relationship marketing. Relationship marketing can be done online using personal emails, small online seminars, forums, blogs, and other tools. The point is to maintain a strong connection with your customers online, provide information about new products, and educate on new developments regarding your industry. Build trust in your sales contacts with your written words and your voice through podcasts.
Encourage your online customers to refer you to other interested parties. Top 100 Creative Marketing Ideas and Selling Tips for Small Business Marketing in the USA and Canada GENERAL MARKETING IDEAS Never let a day pass without engaging in at least one marketing activity. Determine a percentage of gross income to spend annually on marketing. Set specific marketing goals every year; review and adjust quarterly. Maintain a tickler file of ideas for later use. Carry business cards with you (all day, every day). Create a personal nametag or pin with your company name and logo on it and wear it at high visibility meetings.
TARGET MARKET Stay alert to trends that might impact your target market, product or promotion strategy. Read market research studies about your profession, industry, product, target market groups, etc. Collect competitors’ ads and literature; study them for information about strategy, product features and benefits, etc. Ask clients why they hired you and solicit suggestions for improvement. Ask former clients why they left you. Identify a new market. Join a email list related to your profession. Subscribe to an Internet newsgroup that serves your target market. PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
Create a new service, technique or product. Offer a simpler/cheaper/smaller version of your (or another existing) product or service. Offer a fancier/more expensive/faster/bigger version of your (or another existing) product or service. Update your services. EDUCATION, RESOURCES AND INFORMATION Establish a marketing and public relations advisory and referral team composed of your colleagues and/or neighboring business owners to share ideas and referrals and to discuss community issues. Meet quarterly for breakfast. Create a suggestion box for employees. Attend a marketing seminar. Read a marketing book.
Subscribe to a marketing newsletter, such as John Tobin’s Silver Bullet. Subscribe to a marketing teleseminar. Subscribe to a marketing blog. Train your staff, clients and colleagues to promote referrals. Hold a monthly marketing meeting with employees or associates to discuss strategy, status and to solicit marketing ideas. Join an association or organization related to your profession. Join a leads club. If you can’t find a good one, start one. Maintain a consultant file for designers, writers and other marketing professionals. Hire a marketing consultant to brainstorm with you. (John says “Pick me! Pick me! ) Take a “creative journey” to another progressive city or country to observe and learn from marketing techniques used there. PRICING AND PAYMENT Analyze your fee structure; look for areas requiring modifications or adjustments. Establish a credit card payment option for clients. Give regular clients a discount. Learn to barter; offer discounts to members of certain clubs/professional groups/organizations in exchange for promotions in their publications. Give “quick pay” or cash discounts. Offer financing or installment plans. MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS Publish a newsletter for customers and prospects. Check out our newsletter. ) Develop a brochure of services. Include a postage-paid survey card with your brochures and other company literature. Include check-off boxes or other items that will involve the reader and provide valuable feedback to you. Remember, business cards aren’t working for you if they’re in the box. Pass them out! Give prospects two business cards and brochures — one to keep and one to pass along. Produce separate business cards and sales literature for each of your target market segments (e. g. government and commercial, and/or business and consumer).
Create a poster or calendar to give away to customers and prospects. Print a slogan and/or one-sentence description of your business on letterhead, fax cover sheets and invoices. Develop your own Web site. (We can help you do that at very low cost. ) Create a “signature file” to be used for all your e-mail messages. It should contain contact details, including your Web site address, and key information about your company that will make the reader want to contact you. Be creative – make a few of them for different target markets. Include “testimonials” from customers in your literature, on you site, andin your presentations.
Test a new mailing list. If it produces results, add it to your current direct mail lists or consider replacing a list that’s not performing up to expectations. Use colored or oversized envelopes for your direct mailings. Or send direct mail in plain white envelopes to pique recipients’ curiosity. Announce free or special offers in your direct response pieces. (Direct responses may be direct mail, broadcast fax, or email messages. ) Include the offer in the beginning of the message and also on the outside of the envelope for direct mail. Make it stand out by being creative. MEDIA RELATIONS
Update your media list often so that press releases are sent to the right media outlet and person. Write a column for the local newspaper, local business journal or trade publication, so that people begin to view you as an expert in your industry (which you are, right? ). Publish an article and circulate reprints. Send timely and newsworthy press releases as often as needed. Publicize your 500th client of the year (or other notable milestone). Create an annual award and publicize it – such as an outstanding employee of the year. Get public relations and media training or read up on it (See our creative marketing resources).
Appear on a radio or TV talk show. Create your own TV program on your industry or your specialty. Market the show to your local cable station or public broadcasting station as a regular program. Or, see if you can air your show on an open access cable channel. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper or to a trade magazine editor. Take an editor to lunch. Get a publicity photo taken and enclose with press releases. Consistently review newspapers and magazines for possible PR opportunities. Submit “tip” articles to newsletters and newspapers.
Conduct industry research and develop a press release or article to announce an important discovery in your field. Create a press kit and keep its contents current. CUSTOMER SERVICE AND CUSTOMER RELATIONS Ask your clients to come back again. Return phone calls promptly. Set up an email autoresponder and/or a fax-on-demand system to automatically respond to customer inquiries and capture an inquirer’s contact information for your prospect list. Use voice mail or an answering machine to catch after-hours phone calls. Include basic information in your outgoing message, such a business hours, location, etc.
Record a memorable message or “tip of the day” on your voice mail or answering machine message. Ask clients what you can do to help them. Take clients out to a sports event, a show or another special event, or just send them two tickets with a note or appreciation card. Hold a seminar at your office for clients and prospects. Send hand-written thank-you notes. Send birthday cards and appropriate seasonal greetings (put your database to work). Photocopy interesting articles and send them to clients and prospects with a hand-written “FYI” note and your business card.
Send a book of interest or other appropriate business gift to a client with a handwritten note. Create an area on your Web site specifically for your customers. Redecorate your office or location where you meet with your clients. NETWORKING AND WORD OF MOUTH Join the Chamber of Commerce or other business organization and participate. Join or organize a breakfast club with other professionals (not in your field) to discuss business and network referrals. Mail a brochure to members of organizations to which you belong. Serve on a city board or commission. Host a holiday party.
Hold an open house at your place of business. Send letters to attendees after you attend a conference. Join a Web community email list that attracts your target market and get involved. ADVERTISING Advertise during peak seasons for your business. Get a memorable phone number, such as “1-800-WIDGETS. ” Obtain a memorable URL and email address and include them on all marketing materials. Provide Rolodex® cards or phone stickers pre-printed with your business contact information. Promote your business jointly with other professionals via cooperative direct mail.
Advertise in a specialty directory or in the Yellow Pages. Write an ad in another language to reach a non-English-speaking market. Place the ad in a publication that such a market reads, such as a French, Italian or Hispanic newspaper. Distribute advertising specialty products such as pens, mouse pads or mugs. Mail “bumps,” photos, samples and other innovative items to your prospect list. (A bump is simply anything that makes the mailing envelope bulge and makes the recipient curious about what’s in the envelope! ) Create a direct mail list of “hot prospects. “
Consider non-traditional tactics such as the back of buses, billboards or popular Web sites that attract your target market. Project a message on the sidewalk in front of your place of business using a light directed through words etched in a glass window. Consider placing ads in your local newspaper’s classified section. Get a vanity automobile licence plate with your company name on it. Create a friendly bumper sticker for your car. Code your ads andkeep records of results. Run split-test ads — always try to come up with a better performing ad by testing new ads against your best performing ad until you find one that works even better.
Then test more new ads against that one and record the response rates. Improve your building signage and directional signs inside and out. Invest in a neon sign to make your office or storefront window visible at night. Create a new or improved company logo or “re-color” the traditional logo. Sponsor and promote a contest or sweepstakes. SPECIAL EVENTS AND OUTREACH Get a booth at a fair or trade show attended by your target market. Sponsor or host a special event or open house at your business location in cooperation with a local non-profit organization.
Describe how the organization helped you. Give a speech or volunteer for a career day at a high school. Teens are very influential. Teach a class or seminar at a local college or adult education center. (Be the expert. ) Sponsor an “Adopt-a-Road” area in your community to keep roads litter-free. People who pass by the area will see your name on the sign announcing your sponsorship. Volunteer your time to a charity or non-profit organization. Donate your product or service to a charity auction. Appear on a panel at a professional seminar. Write a “How To” pamphlet or article for publishing.
Create an educational audio CD or multimedia DVD. Publish a book. SALES IDEAS Start every day with phone calls to two new prospects. Read newspapers, business journals and trade publications for new business openings and for personnel appointment and promotion announcements made by companies. Send your business literature to appropriate individuals and firms. Give your sales literature to your lawyer, accountant, printer, banker, temp agency, office supply salesperson, advertising agency, etc. (Expand your sales force for free! ) Put your fax number on order forms for easy submission.
Set up a fax-on-demand or email system to easily distribute responses to product inquiries. Follow up on your direct mailings, email and faxes with a friendly telephone call. Try using email delivery instead of direct mail. Using broadcast fax or email messages to notify your customers of product service updates. Extend your hours of operation. Reduce response time. Send reminders to reorder. Provide pre-addressed envelopes. Display product and service samples at your office. Remind clients of the products and services you provide that they aren’t currently buying. Call and/or send mail to former clients to try to