Posts Tagged ‘prospect’

10 Good Reasons to Use Email Marketing

May 7, 2011

by Doug Smith, President, The Woodhaven Group, LLC

As a CEO, I wish that 30 years ago I had this extremely productive tool to communicate with my customers and prospects.

If your business is not using email marketing, then you need to make it a part of your marketing mix going forward.  What benefit will your company get from email marketing?  Here are 10 good reasons:

  1. It will increase your business cash flow:  Email marketing costs less than direct mail, television, radio and other forms of purchased media.  This means more cash for your company to use in other areas of the business.  Executed properly, over both the short-term and long-term email marketing will have your highest return on investment of any marketing channel in your business.
  2. Can segment your customer base:  Instead of a general message to a mass audience you can tailor your message to a segment of your customer base that has shown a desire for information on a specific topic, product or service that you offer. Relevant targeted content is at the heart of effective email marketing.
  3. Can build a 1 on 1 relationship:  This is not possible with television or radio.  Each email can be personalized with the recipient’s name, they can reply to what you have sent and you can directly respond to their comments or questions.  
  4. Can review response history of the individual:  Did they open the email?  Did they click-through to a link? Did they buy? Compare this to newspaper or television where you have no idea  whether your customer even knew the ad or 60 second spot even existed.
  5. Allows you to use triggered emails:  Based upon response history, you can automatically target future emails to their area of interest.  For example, if you are an attorney and your prospect clicked on an estate planning article, you can follow-up with an email on trusts.  Triggered emails can be set up by date such as birthdays, anniversaries of a successful completion of a job, for  holiday messages and many other ways.
  6. It lets your customer be in control:  Marketing has changed. The consumer now controls the relationship.  With email marketing the consumer can choose what part of the email to read, when to read it, if they want to respond to an offer and even opt out of receiving future emails if they conclude that your information is not relevant to them.  This is a good thing. The best performing company will win. Make sure its your company. 
  7. Email marketing can be synchronized with other marketing channels:  Email marketing does not have to  stand alone. You can use other channels like social media or direct mail to sign up prospects to receive emails about your company. By identifying a specific area of interest, a key person can respond with a personalized letter or phone call and not waste your prospect’s time.
  8. Can utilize education-based marketing:  Email marketing is not a sound bite or tweet.  It allows you to dig deep into a topic and educate your consumer.  Better yet, your company can send a series of emails weekly on a topic of interest.
  9. Builds brand:  A consistent ongoing message can build trust and credibility in your company. When the time finally comes to make a buying decision you will have built a reservoir of goodwill that will give you a chance to close the sale. 
  10. Can link to your website:  Your website should be treated as if it was another location of your company that is used to strengthen the relationship with a prospect or customer.  Linking to different parts of your website from an email can educate, sell, and communicate what makes your business unique.

There are some who say that email marketing is on the decline and is being replace by social media.

I disagree.

Email marketing continues to be at the core of an integrated marketing strategy that can build sales and profitability increase the cash flow of your business over the long-term.

I would be interested to know what your  experience has been with email marketing.

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Increase Sales And Business Cash Flow by Simply Asking For The Sale

June 19, 2010

by Doug Smith, President, The Woodhaven Group

As CEOs, owners, and senior managers we often spend countless hours analyzing why a sale did not occur. 

Was the price too high?  Is it poor advertising?  Was our product the wrong design? Are we marketing to the wrong customer?

Many times I have found the reason is very simple. 

No one asked for the sale.  You may be thinking that no way does that happen in my company.  You have a selling methodology in place and your sales manager  reviews it weekly in sales meetings.  Well, it happens.  And it can occur in retail stores,  with in home sales persons and in business to business selling situations.

In a business to consumer company I was involved with, we would follow-up the sales visit with a “quality control” phone call to the prospect that did not buy.  Our conversation asked if our sales person was on time, explained the benefits of our product and answered all their questions.  Invariably the feedback was extremely positive on our sales person and many times when we questioned why the prospect did not buy, the feedback would be that they were not asked to buy.  The call would conclude by asking if they were ready to purchase, the prospect often said yes and we would schedule a manager to go write the sale.

Why do sales people fail to ask for the sale?  I have found many sales people do not ask because they are afraid the answer will be “no.”  It is easier to report back that the prospect wanted to “think it over.”

When asking for the sale everyone wants to hear a “yes.”  However, a “no” answer is not bad because now the sales person can identify the objection and overcome it.  If no one asks for the sale then there is no chance to overcome an objection and close the deal.

How can an owner or CEO prevent this problem  from happening?  The best way to identify which sales persons have this problem is for the sales manager to observe the interaction with the prospect at the point of sale.  By doing this the manager can then coach the sales person on what to say the next time he or she is on a sales call.

Failure to ask for the sale is a problem that is never discussed enough with sales forces.

In my opinion, if you don’t ask for the sale then all that took place was a nice conversation. 

That won’t help revenue, cash flow, or profit.

Add-on Sales: An Easy Way To Increase Sales and Cash Flow

April 22, 2010

by Doug Smith, President, The Woodhaven Group

Would you like fries with that?  We have all been asked that at the drive up window.  If you said yes then you just participated in an add-on sale.

This is one of the easiest and best ways to increase sales and so many businesses do not have a strategy in place to capitalize on this  easy path to more cash flow.

Why isn’t it used more often?  Some sales people and sales managers believe that attempting to add-on may upset the prospect and kill the original sale.

My experience is that rarely occurs.  Why?  You have either just solved a real problem for your prospect or addressed a need, or fulfilled a desire.  Either way the prospect turned buyer now feels good about you, your company and your product or service.

You have persuaded them to cross an important psychological barrier and make a buying decision.  In the buyer’s mind the hard work is completed and the stress of decision-making is over.

Some tips to maximize the potential of add-on sales:

  1. Don’t attempt an add-on sale until you have a commitment on the core product or service the prospect was wanting or needing.
  2. Make sure the add-on directly relates to the product or service you sold them.  Example:  It makes sense to sell tennis balls with a new tennis racket.
  3. An add-on is still a sale so make sure you explain how the customer will benefit from this extra service.
  4. Track what the most successful conversions of add ons are when offered to a customer.  Don ‘t assume you know.  Test different add ons and let the consumer tell you which is most often preferred.
  5. Train the sales staff how and when to offer add ons.  This training should include scripting, role-playing, and recording on video.  When done correctly, an add-on is a natural extension of the existing sale.
  6. Often when executed well an add-on sale will be sold at full price resulting in increased margin.
  7. Add on sales do not always have to be sold at the point of sale.  They can be as a result of a follow-up contact when thanking the customer for making the purchase.  Internet marketers often do this on the thank you page. Some companies sell the add-on at the time of installation or delivery.  An example might be extended warranty or a maintenance contract.  You should be catching the customer at their highest point of satisfaction.   

A properly executed add-on sales strategy delivers added value for your customer.  For your company it can deliver increased sales, more cash flow, lower marketing costs and more profit.

As an owner or senior manager make sure you commit to this important business strategy.

Someone is going to make that add-on sale to your customer.  

Make sure it is your business and not your competitor.

Price Bundling and Product Bundling Can Increase Sales and Cash Flow

April 8, 2010

by Doug Smith, President, The Woodhaven Group

Sales are down. Cash flow is tanking. It’s easy to blame the lousy economy. Your customer would buy more if they could. Or so they say.

Well here is one solution to consider. Adjust your pricing but not the way you may think. I’m not talking about cutting prices in the hopes that tired strategy will increase sales. Any fool can give it away and end up losing profit.  I am suggesting using a strategy that as a consumer you participate in everyday and like it. The result ends up increasing your average sale, always a good thing when overall sales also increase.

Its called bundling. Some call it price bundling, some call it product bundling. There have been study after study done on this type of pricing with a lot of names given to it.  All I know is if done properly many good things can happen for your business:  1.) overall sales may go up, 2.) average sale can go up, 3.) gross margin dollars should see an increase, 4.) and potentially your marketing cost could go down. All good things for your cash flow.

Bundling occurs when instead of a prospect buying one item for one price they buy a bundle of products or services for one price. An important element in this form of pricing strategy is the prospect must see added value in the combination of these products for the price being asked. It won’t do any good to bundle together products or services that the prospect doesn’t care about when sold separately. But watch what happens if you can bundle “hot ” items together.

The important take away here is for your company to test to see what combinations work for both the company and the customer. Measure the results on a small sampling. If it works then roll it out. If not then adjust until you find a win-win  for everyone.

Here are examples:

  • Happy Meals at MacDonald’s
  • New cars with “standard equipment included.”  I saw a car with 38 standard items included.
  • Buy two suits and get a free shirt and tie
  • “Gift with Purchase” cosmetics in a department store
  • Vacation packages that include hotel, airlines, and car
  • Car wash with clearcoat  wax, underbody, rust inhibitor, and wheel bright
  • Free xrays with a package of chiropractor appointments
  • Get a free cell phone with a 2 year contract
  • A dozen red roses.  You can also bundle one product into a larger commitment. Whats wrong with 1 rose?

You get the idea.  Find out what works for your company and integrate this powerful sales and pricing strategy into your  marketing mix. 

I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this. Has anyone had a bundling success story they can share with the rest of us?