Posts Tagged ‘online sales’

5 Elements of a Sales System

August 2, 2011

via Google Images

I recently bought the book entitled “Harvard Business Review on Sales and Selling”. I just read the chapter called “Manage the Customer, not just the Sales Force” by Benson P. Shapiro. He wrote about a sales management team that decided to “step back and take a fresh look at the entire selling effort” when a dress line failed to increase in spite of know appeal.

Reading Shapiro motivated me to take a step back and reflected on my firm’s sales system. There are a lot of online sales options. I call it noise. It was high time to step back and get organized.

I am a very analytical, organized, task oriented task master! I believe in checklists and outlines.

So first, I drafted a sales system outline which included: (1) Product Policy and Pricing; (2) Distribution Channels for Online Training Content Sales; (3) Communication Methods; (4) Qualifying Prospects and (5) Managing Customers.

Distribution Channels include an ejunkie shopping cart on our firm’s website; a Facebook storefront; an Amazon store; a Scribd Store; Clickbank; Ebay; Lulu; Moontoast; Zazzle store; Blog for Pay via Media Bistro and the Examiner; and training videos for pay via Demand Media.

Communication methods include the 3-A’s – Advertising PULL; Appointments for personal selling PUSH; and Attending Networking Events.

Advertising PULL include Facebook ads; Google adwords; Youtube videos; direct mail marketing; email marketing; and social media posts via Hootesuite and Ping fm.  Our social media posts are distributed to Twitter, Facebook, Facebook business page, Linkedin, Myspace, Google Buzz, Tumblr, Friendfeed, Identi.ca, Brightkite, and Yahoo Profile.

Appointments can be set with Facebook friends, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and Linkedin connections using online tools like Tungle.

Networking events include Meetups; professional trade organization meetings; vendor outreach sessions; and trade conferences.

Qualifying prospects involves having a Contact Relationship Management (CRM) system that includes lead scoring.  Prospects get higher scores if they are warmly engaged with us open our newsletter; comment on our blog; LIKE us on Facebook; or otherwise communicate with us.

The Customer Management component includes Opening New Account Relationships; Closing Deals; Servicing Accounts; and Maintaining Account Relationships.                                              

Second, I created a e-file folder for each component of our sales system. The idea is to use this outline as our strategic plan.

Third, there is nothing left to do but to deploy. You have to be motivated to launch and consistently deploy!

What would you add to this system? What works for your organization?

By Clovia Hamilton, President, Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with nearly 30 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans, intellectual property, social media marketing strategic plans, and other services. Contact Clovia at:
■ Web: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com/
■ Blog: https://cloviahamilton.wordpress.com/
■ LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/cloviahamilton
■ Twitter: http://twitter.com/lemongrassplans
■ Email: chamilton@lemongrassplanning.com

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How to ask for work online

August 1, 2010

I have only asked for leads once. I got some good feedback. My outreach resulted in 7 new clients. Getting timely cooperation was another story – a project management story. Nevertheless, I moved on to try other strategies.

Well, when my work (and cash flow) got really low, my coaches all pushed me to ask for work. On the one hand you do not want to come across as begging. On the other hand, in this economy, everyone is looking out for themselves – survival of the fittest. In between those two extremes, you have to share with others what you can do well that will help them.

(1) Never stop Marketing. Business owners need to consistently ask – not just a one time launch. The key word is “consistency”. We also need to assess and evaluate how we ask. We need professional, well thought out sales copy.

Getting work on Linkedin was discussed in one of the groups I belong to. I studied the feedback. As you can imagine, there was a lot of interest in the topic. There were 80 comments when I peeked in. But only two (2) people admitted to getting work on Linkedin. Neither of the 2 divulged “how” they actually got the work. I went further and asked them to share samples of their sales copy. One gave some valuable insight.

I have several really close, good friends who will not divulge their sales copy – they wont say how they actually approach prospects, what they say that’s persuasive and convincing. The way to see it is to follow them online and pretend to be a customer. Following how others do it and emulating them is actually a great way to learn sales.

But what is up with the fact that folks are reluctant to share how they do it? Perhaps, for the sake of competition, we should not give away how we do business. But, givers gain. I think folks using social media should share what has worked for us.

So, how do you ask? What are examples of what you can post or email to connections that are not too sale-sy? One of my connections recently told me how she has taken her blog advice and compiled a book and she sales it for $99 including a one hour consulting session.

(2) Sale or don’t sale online? Hard or soft? I have read that you should not sale at all on social media platforms. I do not agree with that. I think as part of sharing, we should share our expertise and share the fact that we help others for a fee.

I have also read that women give away too much how to advice – we give away the farm – whereas men do not share as much. Well, I think we should share our know how. That is what makes us absolutely marvelous! We nurture! We share! …but we have to be careful not to give away so much for so little that we struggle financially.

When I started my firm, I hated the sales part the most. I loved the work, but hated sales. Ever since I was a kid, I did not like it when folks cold called our house. I did not like until I had to start doing it to get face to face appointments. I still rely heavily on email. Online, I absolutely hate the hard sales. I drop connections that only post sales and discounts on their products and services. This “BUY NOW” blatant, in my face, approach is a real turn off.

(3) Learning Sales is Learning Relationship Building. Well, at the end of the day, we each need to learn “how” to sale!

This means, we have to learn “how” to build relationships. It takes strategy, planning, and execution. Folks want to know what problems they may have and how you can solve their problem or challenge.

To convince them that you know how and that you are the one they should hire, use testimonials to promote yourself. I routinely give references to folks on Linkedin and I have received them in return.

With consistent online presence and soft ask-offers of professional advice and assistance, the sales will follow!

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans. Visit us at: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com – Follow Clovia on Twitter @lemongrassplans and LIKE Lemongrass on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/6cuu28o