(NNPA)—Increasing sales during economic crisis, particularly for startup entrepreneurs, is the single most important learned business survival tool. Every customer contact, large or small is a potential new sale. The tough economic climate forces consumers to seek high quality discounts that cut expenses across the board. Take heart entrepreneurs—sales skills can be learned.
Are you able to pull customers in or just pushing sales information out? Review your marketing approach to better coordinate a pull—then push strategy. Take a look at your website, brochures, newsletters and proposals. Don’t try to serve everyone, develop effective leadership presence within your niche market. The marketplace is too competitive to serve to everyone.
An entrepreneur not having a niche is like trying to sprint to an unknown destination. By defining your specific niche identity, it better enables you to find that pot of gold. Implement a plan that draws the customers to you—then push for sales. Otherwise, it requires too much time and money spent aimlessly pursuing dead ends.
What’s a niche?
Your niche can be a target market or brand specialty. Look for everyday familiar examples such as Subway or KFC. Their popular niche brands are the “$5 foot-long sub” or “We do chicken right.” Having both a target market and a specialty to define or pull your customers is ideal, e.g. “Cold Stone Creamery—enjoy creating your own high quality ice cream, cakes and smoothies.”
By identifying a niche that works, entrepreneurs become “experts” or recognized market evangelists. This begins the sales networking process, potentially opening up opportunities to publish articles, speaking or community mentoring to establish your identified brand name. Customers may start calling, asking for advice or information. Keep in mind that networking is not just going to a room and exchanging business cards; it’s creating a pool of contacts from which you can draw clients, referrals, resources and information.
Do your marketing materials pull new customer sales?
•Begin with a clear identification of the niche market(s)
•Define client problems and concerns
•Create a picture, logo or brand name identity that draws customers
•Provide valuable ideas that your target market can use and demonstrate your expertise
•Offer something for FREE that demonstrates your product or services
The challenge is getting the correct emphasis and order; remember the pull then push marketing sequence will move your business forward.
•Create resources that pull prospects to your business
•Promote methods for customers to provide contact information. Most firms let over 85 percent of the contacts get away and lack follow-up
•Push useful information out to self-selected prospects on a regular basis. Keep in mind, customers generally won’t make a purchase until they’ve had a minimum of four contacts with your business
When your prospects have a compelling need, they will turn to the organization that they’ve had regular communication with, know and trust. At some point prospects will require more details about your services, credentials and testimonials. Use the pull then push strategy to accelerate your marketing. You’ll be amazed as you watch both your sales pipeline and client lists grow as the business gains momentum.
Connect with people in your niche or target market by asking them about their pains, problems, challenges, desires and dreams. Every time you talk with someone in your niche, it’s like conducting free market research—the information gleaned can be used to create targeted products and services. As you become the recognized expert within niche markets, your sales will significantly increase.
Ask questions, share information: Ask the customer relevant questions to draw them out. “What do you like in your current situation?” “What don’t you like?” “What features are the most important?”
Get aggressive: Create low cost ways to pull customers to your business. Develop online Web search engine optimization, use free social networking blogs, local community groups or post your business card with neighborhood shop owners.
Initially, it’s not necessary to be a naturally gifted salesperson to be successful. The focus on increasing sales is a 24-hour daily work in progress, as part of any successful entrepreneur’s lifestyle. Learn the innovative sales techniques of pull then push strategies—become a brand name expert in your niche market.
(Farrah Gray is the author of “The Truth Shall Make You Rich: The New Road Map to Radical Prosperity, Get Real, Get Rich: Conquer the 7 Lies Blocking You from Success” and the international best-seller “Reallionaire: Nine Steps to Becoming Rich from the Inside Out.” He is chairman of the Farrah Gray Foundation. Dr. Gray can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or his website at http://www.drfarrahgray.com.)