Tuesday, September 29, 2009

12 Great Reasons to Know Your Target Market

I was speaking with a potential client the other day and asked THAT question…”Who is your target market?” As a provider of telecommunications equipment, his response was, “Anyone who has a phone!” While that may seem like a good answer, the reality is that it is completely unfocused and undoubtedly wastes thousands of dollars in marketing costs and tens of thousands of dollars in opportunity costs. After all, would you rather spend your valuable time with a prospect who buys 70% of the time, or one who buys 15% of the time?

The reality is that no matter what business you are in, no matter what product you sell, you can take a look back at your customers and very quickly determine the characteristics of those most likely to purchase your product or service. Why is this important? Let’s say you do sell telecommunications equipment like my prospect. When you examine your sales history, you find out that 80% of your customers have between 10 and 20 million dollars in sales, have more than 15 employees and are sole proprietorships. So you now know with indisputable proof that for whatever reason, a sole proprietor with $12 million dollars in sales and 20 employees is much more likely to buy from you than a partnership with $5 million in sales and 10 employees. How important can that be when planning your lead generation and conversion tactics?

Let’s briefly discuss defining some prime market segments, specific geographic markets, sizes and trends, characteristics of people and 12 very important reasons to profile your target customers.

1 – You will know how to communicate your message with a minimum of confusion when you basically know who your customers really are and deliberately set out to attract them.

2 – You will better able to decide how to market your product or services, if it’s going to be direct mail, newsletter, direct sales, cold calls etc.

3 – You will know what additional services that your potential prospective customers or clients will want and expect from you.

4 – You will know basically what your target customers are willing to pay.

5 – You will know what your target customers will expect in terms of quality.

6 – You will know where large groups of target customers are located so you can market directly to them.

7 – You will know who else is after your target customers business.

8 – Your customer will help you define your true market.

9 – It will identify where it’s possible to survive and prosper.

10 – When human needs aren’t being met, you’ll find a widening gap in the market and the key to opportunity.

11 – You will learn simple techniques that will help you gain insight into consumer behavior.

12 – It will be very important because you’ll be able to conceptualize your overall market.

Does this mean that we sell ONLY to our target market? Of course not! And does it mean that you give up on those outside your market? Again, a resounding NO! What it does give you is a place to start. When you aren’t sure WHY people outside your customer base aren’t buying, the first thing to do is to target prospects that have the same characteristics of your current customers.

The second, later thing to do is to find out WHY those outside your base are not buying and see if you can change that. It may be as obvious as no one under 30 buying your wrinkle reducing cream, but most likely it will be much more complicated. Once you are able to determine the reason for a particular group ignoring your sales message, you can address that issue.

By Greg Beverly

11 Proven Sales Strategies to Help You Close The Deal

There are a number of sales closing strategies that you can learn with different ones applied in different situations. Each salesperson might be more comfortable with one or another. As a business owner, you want to be certain that you and your salespeople become exposed to a number of different strategies so they can choose the one they prefer depending on different situations.

First you must understand that before you can assist your prospect in identifying the advantages of buying your products or services, you must also instruct them of the disadvantages.

Then you and the prospect analyze the items on your list and identify the strengths and advantages while overcoming the disadvantages.

The goal here is for the advantages to outweigh the disadvantages and close the deal.

The take it with them close- This allows the prospect to actually take the product home or try out the product. The idea is that once this happens, the prospect will be unable to part with the product and must have it.

There is a story about a salesmen who sold pet dogs. The salesman said "Here, take this home and give me a call in a week. If you don't want it, I'll come and get it". Once that dog was there and the young son fell in love with it, there was no way that dog was going back.

Subject To Approval Close- This allows a salesperson to actually close a sale, but do so subject to certain contingencies. In other words, it's up to the salesperson at this point to really do some work when possible to assist the prospect in removing contingencies thereby making the sale official. .

Take Away Close- I prefer this one. It's human nature to want what one can't have. The salesperson says things like, "This product isn't for everyone. It's a certain kind of person who can appreciate this service."

The Standby Feel Close- This approach is intended to establish empathy with your prospect's situation in an effort to persuade them that you or a prior customer has actually dealt with their situation.

The Order Form Close- Sometimes the prospect might need a little encouragement and It's useful to actually take your order form or contract and put it in ftont of your prospect. Tell them to complete a section and you'll complete the rest.

Never say, "Sign the contract", which has a very negative connotation. It appears too binding and rigid to your prospect

If they haven't heard enough reason to buy, you then say ""If We Do This, Will You Buy?" you must identify what it will take for the prospect to break down and buy.

Presumptive Close- Under this method you actually go on the assumption or presumption that the prospect has already decided to buy. You might talk about how a prospect will enjoy the product or service or how the benefits might be enjoyed.

When the prospect gets in the habit of talking, feeling and thinking like they already have the item, the sale is almost all but completed.

Informational Close- If your products or services is such that your prospect needs more information in order to make up their mind, then the more relevant information you can share the more likely the prospect is to buy.

Overcoming Objectives Close- You can identify the prospect's specific objections to buying and focus on ways to overcome those objections. As you successfully accomplish this task, the close will follow right afterwards.

Instructional Close- If the close requires the buyer to know how to use your products or services, it is critical that you provide detailed instructions where applicable. Directive Close- This is when you actually talk to your prospect and tell them exactly what to do. Direct Them to go over and sign up. They will respond by buying when told to do so. It's one of the easiest ways to make a sale.

Exclusive Close- You indicate in all the marketing you do that your products or services are very exclusive. Lock the doors and only allow customers and referrals to enter. Soon you'll find they want it because everyone wants in. Whatever the strategies you and your employees learn and implement, all awareness that sales strategies are available is essential to go a long way in your business sales efforts.

By Abe Cherian

10 Ways To Make More Money In Network Marketing

Marketing is an excellent way for the "average Joe or Jane" to make an extra income. This business concept has been around for decades, and it will not disappear any time soon. The reason for its popularity is simple... It Works! It does however, require lots of work and most importantly, dedication and persistance to get the job done. The best part is, once you are able to set up a solid network, your business becomes MUCH less time intensive. Almost like going on "autopilot". The key is to get there as fast as possible.

Here are just a couple of tips I have found to be helpful in maximizing your Network Marketing Business:

1. Use your products regularly. This is Number 1 for a reason, this is the most ignored part of ANY network marketing business. How do you expect your business to succeed if you will not even use your own products? It does seem silly to even have to bring this up, but there are many who are not using their own products, and wonder why they are not making any money. Make a commitment to use your products for a year, and see where your business goes.

2. Educate yourself constantly. This is very important! You must rid yourself of negative ideas, sometimes referred to as "stinkin thinkin". This can be done in a variety of ways. I recommend reading at least 15 minutes a day, but try to shoot for 30. Business and self-help books are a great way to start. Don't forget your Multi-level magazines, as they are full of tips and advice. Lastly, listen to cassette tapes on multi-level tips from top earners in your business.

3. Spend as much time as possible with your upline. Your upline should have only one goal in mind, To Help You Succeed! They are a vast source of knowledge and information. Mingle with top distributors in your group, or other groups, and ask how they made it. Most everyone should be more than happy to provide you with excellent tips and advice.

4. Present your products and marketing plan personally to at least one person daily. Remember above when I said you are going to have to work, well here it is. Now here is the key, the prospects to whom you present your plan, do not have to be yours personally. Show the plan for your downline, and not only will you create "security" by placing members in your downlines' downline, it will also give you a boost in your personal income! I can guarantee if you were to follow this rule for 6 months, you would create a downline with enough width and depth to create an income to sustain you and your family for life.

5. Care for your downline. An entire book can be written on this topic. Usually, it's the little things that show you really care. Try to maintain regular contact, and always praise your distributor's accomplishments. You can even offer incentives for specific achievements, such as money, travel, recognition, or other rewards, to help motivate your group.

6. Duplicate yourself by making distributors independent of you. This will help to multiply your time, thus making you and your group more effective. Always lead by example. Never stop recruiting, training and retailing. Remember the KISS formula - "Keep It Simple, Sweety" I know, I know, I changed the last word, but it maintains the meaning. This can be done my conducting simple, brief, yet dramatic presentations, and teaching your downline to do the same.

7. Create a large customer base. This is another largely ignored, yet very important, piece of your network marketing business. Many try so hard to build a huge downline, that they forget how much profit they could also make by selling their products to retail customers. Some people will just not want to become part of your downline, no matter how great a product/system you may have. This does not mean they will not be personally interested in your product. Try to make everyone your customer. Once you earn their trust, they will come to you more, and perhaps even join your downline later. Always "leave the door open", as people's needs do change.

8. Focus on your customers needs. You must give customers more than they expect, and always satisfy your customers complaints immediately. Try to listen 80% of the time, and talk only 20%. As stated above, your customers can be a huge source of future referrals and/or business. You must earn and maintain their trust. Once you have their trust, you can always ask for referrals, which leads to even more business and a larger downline.

9. Set daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals - and Write Them Down! You may have heard the expression, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." Breaking up a larger goal into smaller easily attainable goals, is the key to success. You cannot just jump to the end, you have to make progress everyday. Writing them down is another largely ignored, important tip to help you succeed. A goal is just a "passing thought", or "wish" until you put it in writing. That is when it becomes concrete and real. It is also a great idea to keep a business journal of your daily activities, as it will help you to become more productive and time-conscious.

10. Get Out There And Do It Now! All of the knowledge in the world is useless and unprofitable, until you put the most important ingredient of them all in place. This "secret" ingredient should come as no surprise at all, but this is the #1 reason for failure at anything in life. It is ACTION! Remember, knowledge is useless without action.

Thank you for reading this, and I truly hope this has provided you with valuable information to help you and your business grow and succeed.

Noah Ulrich is a top producing network marketer and webmaster of http://www.informativeresources.com He maintains a profitable internet business and has done so since 2001.

By Noah UlrichNetwork

10 Sure-Fire Steps to take the Fear out of Public Speaking

Do you "feel the fear" when asked to do some Public Speaking?

Public Speaking is still one of our greatest fears and it turns grown men and women into nervous wrecks. The mere thought of it turns our tongue to cotton wool, causes our internal plumbing to act up and turns our knees to jelly.

Well, there's no need for all of this because help is at hand. All you need to remember are your P's and Q's. Let's start with the P's

Preparation -

When you sit down to write what you're going to say, bear in mind who you'll be speaking to. Will they understand what you're talking about; will they understand the technical stuff and the jargon? If in doubt remember the old saying - "Keep It Simple Stupid".

Make sure that what you say has a beginning, middle and an end. Think of some anecdotes that help reinforce your story. People think visually so paint verbal pictures for your audience. And always remember, people want to know what's in it for them - so make sure you tell them!

Place -

Have a look at the venue before the event if you can. It's not always possible, however, even if you get there half an hour before, you can check out where you'll be speaking.

Stand at the point where you will deliver from, imagine where the audience will be and check that they can see and hear you. You may even wish to place a glass of water where you'll be able to find it.

Personal Preparation -

Before any Public Speaking event, think about what you are going to wear; when in doubt dress up rather than down. You can always take things off for a more casual look. Men could remove their jacket and their tie. Women could remove items of jewellery.

Part of your personal preparation should include some mouth and breathing exercises. Practise saying some tongue twisters to give your speaking muscles a good work out. Take a deep breath and expand your diaphragm. Then breathe out, counting at the same time; try and get up to fifty and not pass out.

As part of your personal preparation, write your own introduction. Write out exactly what you want someone to say about you, large font, double-spaced and ask the person introducing you to read it. Believe me they won't object and will probably be pleased and impressed.

Poise and Posture -

Whenever you're called to speak, stand up or walk to the front quickly and purposefully. Pull yourself up to your full height, stand tall and look like you own the place. Before you start to speak, pause, look round your audience and smile. You may even have to wait until the applause dies down. Remember, you want the audience to like you, so look likeable.

Pretend -

I'm suggesting you pretend you're not nervous because no doubt you will be. Nervousness is vital for speaking in public, it boosts your adrenaline, which makes your mind sharper and gives you energy.

The trick is to keep your nerves to yourself. On no account tell your audience your nervous; you'll only scare the living daylights out of them if they think you're going to faint.

Some tricks for dealing with nerves are:

Before you're called to speak, get lots of oxygen into your system, run on the spot and wave your arms about like a lunatic. It burns off the stress chemicals.

Speak to members of your audience as they come in or at some time before you stand up. That tricks your brain into thinking you're talking to some friends.

Have a glass of water handy for that dry mouth. One word of warning - do not drink alcohol. It might give you Dutch courage but your audience will end up thinking you're speaking Dutch. The

Presentation -

Right from the start your delivery needs to grab their attention.

Don't start by saying - "Good morning, my name is Fred Smith and I'm from Smith Associates." Even if your name is Smith, it's a real boring way to start a presentation. Far better to start with some interesting facts or an anecdote that's relevant to your presentation.

Look at the audience as individuals; it grabs their attention if they think you're talking to them personally.

Talk louder than you would normally do, it keeps the people in the front row awake and makes sure those at the back get the message. Funnily enough, it's also good for your nerves.

PowerPoint -

And for those of you who haven't heard of it, it's a software programme that's used to design stunning graphics and text for projection onto a screen.

As a professional speaker, I'm not that struck on PowerPoint. I feel that too many speakers rely on it and it takes over the presentation. After all, you're the important factor here. If an audience is going to accept what you say then they need to see the whites of your eyes. There needs to be a big focus on you, not on the technology.

Use PowerPoint if you want but keep it to a minimum and make sure you're not just the person pushing the buttons. Why not get a bit clever at using the faithful old Flip Chart, lots of professionals do.

Passion -

This is what stops the audience in their tracks. This is what makes them want to employ you or to accept what you're proposing. Couple this with some energy, enthusiasm and emotion and you have the makings of a great public speaker.

Give your presentation a bit of oomph and don't start telling me - "I'm not that kind of person." There's no need to go over the top but you're doing a presentation to move people to action, not having a cosy little chat in your front room.

That's the P's finished, so let's look at the Q's.

Questions -

Decide when you're going to take them and tell people at the start.

In a short speech it's best to take questions at the end. If you take them as you go then you may get waylaid and your timing will get knocked out.

Never - never - never finish with questions; far better to ask for questions five or ten minutes before the end. Deal with the questions and then summarise for a strong finish. Too many presentations finish on questions and the whole thing goes a bit flat.

When you're asked a question, repeat it to the whole audience and thank the questioner. It keeps everyone involved, it gives you time to think and it makes you look so clever and in control.

Quit -

Quit when you're ahead. Stick to the agreed time; if you're asked to speak for twenty minutes, speak for nineteen and the audience will love you for it. Remember, quality is not quantity.

One of the most famous speeches ever - "The Gettysburg Address", by President Lincoln, was just over two minutes long.

Right, that's my cue to quit when I'm ahead. Now that you're armed with this information you too can minimise your fear of Public Speaking.

By Alan Fairweather

10 Dynamic Traits of Over-Achievers

Are you a successful over-achiever? Considerable research has been done about the characteristics that typify the successful business owner. Most experts who have studied the subject tend to agree that the most important single factor is an overpowering need to achieve. In other words, a person's attitude seems to be the main determinant of success in business, more so than education, intelligence, physical attributes, or having a pleasing personality. The key characteristics that have been found to be part of the makeup of all successful over-achievers are:

1. Powerful need to achieve -- which should not be confused with a mere need to exercise power or be liked or admired; the way in which different entrepreneurs "keep score" in assessing their level of achievement varies, and may range from accumulating great wealth to creating a better mouse trap;

2. Perseverance -- the characteristic trait of following through on commitments and not abandoning objectives when difficulties are encountered;

3. Positive mental attitude -- the self-confidence in one's abilities that allows a person to remain optimistic in new, unfamiliar and unexpectedly difficult situations;

4. Objectivity -- an ability to accurately assess the risks associated with a particular course of action, including a realistic understanding of one's own capabilities and limitations. This includes being willing and able to abandon an ill-advised project without having ones' ego get in the way.

5. Foresight -- the ability to anticipate developments and be proactive, rather than constantly having to react to problems after they arise;

6. Well-developed personal relations skills -- being cheerful and cooperative and able to easily get along with people, but often without being close to employees and associates;

7. Strong communication skills -- the ability to communicate well in written form and in making effective oral presentations, either one-on-one or before groups;

8. Resourcefulness -- an ability to solve one-of-a-kind problems in unique or creative ways, including the ability to handle problems for which you might not have had previous training or experience to call upon;

9. Technical knowledge -- broad and well-rounded technical knowledge and understanding, especially with regard to the nuts-and-bolts physical processes of producing goods and services

10. A respectful attitude towards money -- a tendency not to look upon it as an end in itself, but to view it as a means of making things happen and accomplishing business goals, or as a type of objective feedback from the outside world, which lets the entrepreneur know if is on the right track with the business.

So, there you have it...10 successful business traits. If you see yourself in this list, then we will be seeing you at the top!

By Michael Brassil