Hey Kelly—The 'Back to Basics' Episode
Today’s question is one that almost every company asks themselves at one time or another (or all the time). It seems like such an obvious one, and yet I was compelled to focus on it this week.
How do we get the word out to our specific clientele types to grow our business?
When I attempt to answer a question like this, it really demands that I ask some questions of the asker, so that I understand what the current situation is. Here are my answers, quite simply:
- ENGAGEMENT—Sales (phone calls, face-to-face meetings, sending e-mails, and using the mailbox to communicate)
- SOCIAL MEDIA—Blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube
- MARKETING—Newsletters (print and e-mail), promotions, participation and events
So here is the deal with this particular reader. I am paraphrasing, and we agreed not to name them specifically.
They have three outside salespeople, and yet they believe that the ONLY real way that they win new business is through word of mouth from referrals from satisfied customers. They participate in social media, only marginally. They do not blog.
What I really have to say about this question—and this asker in particular—is that many of a company’s problems are cognitive. There are some things that you believe that are true, and some things that you believe that are untrue. So, I am just going to list a few of them out for you.
THINGS THAT YOU BELIEVE THAT ARE TRUE:
- That you get clients from word of mouth
- That finding new young talent, is really, really ridiculously hard
- That you have to invest a minimum of two years and lots of quality training and mentoring to bring someone up in sales in this industry
THINGS THAT YOU BELIEVE THAT ARE UNTRUE:
- That social media brings you no value
- Blogging is not necessary
- That just posting something to Facebook once or twice a month, regardless of its value as content, is enough
And here are some general observations:
Your salespeople need a definable strategy with consistency. They need to use ALL TOOLS available to them to reach out to prospects. (Sending an e-mail is NOT e-mail marketing—it is a legitimate tool to reach people, and when no one is picking up the phone, it is without question the next best thing).
Anecdotal selling in the way to go here. You have stories to tell about all of the amazing ways that you are serving your customers, and doing it in a unique way. Shape that message into a communication plan that can help others understand what you can do for them—and how—then sales will happen. If you don’t know how to do this, figure it out pronto.
Today, we have to be communication ninjas. If you are not a ninja, go to ninja school. Look at all of your communications with a fresh pair of eyes, and make it better. Make it a lot better.
Blogger, author, consultant, coach and all around evangelist for the graphic arts industry, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include sales and marketing coaching, enabling clients to find engagement strategies that work for them and mentoring the next generation of sales superstars.
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league. She is also the mother of two sets of twins under the age of ten, so she fears nothing.