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How To Avoid the 3 Most Costly Mistakes When Using Google AdWords

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Adam Lundquist– Enjoy! 

photo credit: Red X  via WikiMedia Commons
photo credit: Red X via WikiMedia Commons

Do you ever feel like your small business would get a better return on investment by literally lighting your money on fire than using Google AdWords?

You began your AdWords campaign for your small business with high hopes and launched it, excited to fulfill orders from your new customers. Except those orders never came.

You attempted to fix it with different keywords, ad copy, and the newest techniques from self-proclaimed “experts”. However, with each new “fix” you spent more of your time and money – but added no new revenue. You are low on advertising budget and even lower on patience.

If this is your experience then you are not alone, almost all small businesses make costly mistakes when they start using AdWords. This is because the AdWords system penalizes you for mistakes you do not even know you are making. Even worse, in some cases AdWords even encourages these mistakes. The more you mistakes you make the more money AdWords earns from extra clicks you don’t want.

This article helps you identify these mistakes – and more importantly learn how to correct them to put you on the path to AdWords profit.

Mistake One: Keywords In Broad Match

AdWords is set by default to have your keywords in broad match, and this causes your keywords to match for a huge variety of searches you never intended.

For example, if you are a pizza store in Philadelphia and use Google AdWords, you might bid on the keyword Pizza delivery in Philadelphia. You assume that a hungry user has to type in the phrase Pizza delivery in Philadelphia into Google to view your ad and order your delicious pie. However, that is not the case and it costs you money!

By default your ads shows for a huge variety of searches that you never intended. If not changed from default, your keyword Pizza delivery in Philadelphia actually signals to Google to show your ad for searches such as how to cook a frozen pizza, and when clicked, you still have to pay for that irrelevant click.

The discrepancy between the searches you intend your ad to show for and the actually searches that trigger your ad is because the AdWords system uses different match types for keywords. There are four main match types: broad, broad match modifier, phrase, and exact. The different match types allow you (the small business advertiser) to match for a broader or narrower range of actual search queries that users type in. Broad is (as it sounds) the most broad in terms of what searches trigger your ad, and it is ALWAYS set by default in Google AdWords. This means that it is at Google’s discretion to decide that a user’s search is “close enough” to your keyword. Since Google gets paid on every click, they have a broad view of what is close enough.

When beginning your account change the match type of your keywords. Make sure your keywords are either in either phrase match or broad match modifier. These match types ensure that the words you use as your keywords have to be the ones the users searched for in Google. Here is a handy chart to visually see the differences as well as the special symbols that change the match type:

photo credit: chart via PPC HERO
photo credit: chart via PPC HERO

Mistake Two: The Wrong Industry For An Immediate Sale

A common mistake when beginning AdWords is to immediately go for the sale. In some industries an immediate sale makes sense, but in many industries users are not ready to make the purchase at first interaction.  In these industries, the user needs to trust your company before they even consider making the purchase. If the user clicks on an ad and is taken to a site where the only option is a sale, if the user isn’t ready to purchase they have no choice but to leave your site without providing your business any valuable data.

Rather than throw money into the AdWords abyss a, try a different approach. A better way to run AdWords in these industries is to think of a longer sales cycle, and change your goal (called a conversion) from getting an immediate sale to getting their contact information. You can use your ads to send users to a page that asks for their contact information in exchange for a small incentive, build trust by marketing to them via the email they provided, and finally sell to them when they are ready to make a purchase and already trust your company. Incentives can include:

  • Free eBooks
  • Samples
  • Free consultations

This approach works best for industries where trust is key, such as an expensive physical product or a long-term service provider.

Mistake Three: Sending Users To The Homepage

Once you decide on your goals in AdWords, you need to send users to a page that matches the users search and makes it as easy as possible for them to convert. All too often I see new AdWords campaigns send users to the home page. The homepage doesn’t match the users search and conversions are unlikely to happen.  A homepage often has a variety of items and is designed for navigation deeper into the site rather than a conversion.

For example, let’s say you are in the right industry for an immediate sale, like a winter clothing retailer that sells winter hats amongst other items. If you are just beginning to use AdWords you may send all of the users to your generic homepage. If you buy the keyword winter hats and the user is sent to the homepage, which is crowded with all of your items, the user has to search to find the specific sales page for winter hats. This means the user had to spend additional mental energy to search more through your website and click again. The majority of users will not expend this mental energy– they leave your page without making a purchase.

You want to make it as easy and friction-less as possible for the user to convert by sending them to specific high-converting sales pages. If the user type in winter hats send them to the exact sales page for winter hats.

What is your biggest AdWords obstacle?

Adam LundquistAdam Lundquist (@adamlundquist) is the CEO of Nerds Do It Better, an Internet advertising agency for small businesses. He has been featured in The Harvard Gazette, Search Engine Journal, KISSmetrics, WordStream, PPC Hero, Certified Knowledge, Mtv, Vh1, Sports Illustrated, and Moz. Visit his site today for a free eBook: Make Internet Advertising Work For Your Small Business. 5 Steps To Find, Cultivate and Market To New Customers.

 

How to Use Your Expert Knowledge to Build Authority Online

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Daniel Glickman – Enjoy! 

photo credit: 123rf

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent. – John Donne

The internet is a living continent that depends on community contribution to thrive. Without input from participating members, the internet would cease to be relevant. However, the biggest strength of the internet is also its biggest weakness: with almost three billion users, the internet is an enormous global stage, and as participants, we are all competing for a bit of spotlight. However, in our fight to get a moment of glory, too many generate content that is useless and irrelevant. So how do you create important content? Use your expert knowledge to benefit the online community.

First, realize that the online community doesn’t care about you.

Like any other consumers, online audiences are seeking to consume relevant, valuable knowledge. Luckily, you have the power to give them exactly what they want. But first, you need to stop contributing only to benefit yourself. Creating content simply for your own marketing benefits will never get you the same results as contributing genuinely for the benefit of the community.

Ask not what the online community can do for you, but what you can do for the online community.

If you are consistently putting the audience’s needs above your own, you will benefit. The key to being a valuable participant is knowing what you have to offer, why it sets you apart, and how to get it out properly. The most important input you can give to the existing online community is expert knowledge that only you have by contributing content that is unique to your specialty to genuinely help others.

Give fresh perspectives.

A core necessity of any content is that it is valuable and high-quality. However, even the best content can easily be overlooked. A constant challenge is creating fresh and interesting content that offers value to visitors. It’s easy for a great post or infographic to become buried under other online content, so how do you catch the attention of an ever-distracted online audience? Know how the element of surprise can attract attention. A moving graphic, interesting color scheme, or dash of humor in a forum post are all real ways to keep audiences on their toes and interested in what you have to say.

Choose appropriate methods for delivering knowledge.

There are as many topics to contribute about as there are ways to get your insights out there. Informative online presentations, guest blogging, webinars, and active participation in online forums are just a few of the many ways to help the community at large and, if done correctly, can drive long-lasting community engagement. Identify why each method would benefit you, and ask yourself if it’s relevant to your niche. The owner of a medical technology company is probably better suited to contribute knowledge to forums than webinars, but either method works if the owner understands his strengths. A great writer but bad public speaker is probably not suited for a live presentation and should choose an online slideshow with great taglines instead. Know how to play up your strengths and invest in the appropriate methods to benefit the most.

Strive to start conversation.

Putting out content that doesn’t generate audience feedback is like delivering a presentation with zero engagement. Before any post or comment, ask yourself if you are just adding your two-cents or actually participating and driving a conversation. One of the best ways to see this in action is by rephrasing your comments as questions. See how much more participation you get from asking your audience their opinion?

There you have it – to be an authority on your niche, deliver genuine content for the purpose of contributing, not benefitting. The most engaging content – that great TED talk, memorable article, or viral website – was created because of a passion of to share, not benefit. If you can do this successfully, you will not only establish yourself as an authority in your field, but will also draw an engaged audience to you naturally.

08c4341Daniel Glickman is the CMO of emaze. He loves analyzing marketing data and building strategic and tactical plans.

 

The Ultimate Tutorial to Add Inbound Marketing Into Your PR Strategy

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is from Kelly Marsh – Enjoy!

Inbound Marketing

photo credit: Gavin Llewellyn via photopin

Inbound marketing has become a popular strategy for a number of things including for being the best startup PR strategy. It has been often helped businesses exponentially with bringing in customers along with building up its brands like a pioneer in the space. Inbound marketing has really helped  online entrepreneurs in their business promotions along with having a tangible public relationship strategy.

Inbound marketing shouldn’t be looked at as a smorgasbord; rather you have the option of comparing the same complete and balance meal with different courses- main course, appetizer, dessert, side dishes, and also the leftovers. Unlike any other marketing strategy, inbound marketing should be a coordinated endeavor. In nutshell,  inbound marketing needs focus. In today’s high-end world, staying focused and concentrated on any task could be a big challenge. Let’s take a look at the ultimate tutorial for adding  inbound marketing as your startup PR strategy.

Blogging

A blog can be called one of the best inbound marketing strategies, which can help make your PR strong and in the long run, can help in building up your thought leadership. This inbound strategy can benefit you in many ways, which include giving you the opportunity to post fresh, new content along with optimizing relevant and targeted keywords pertaining to your niche area. You get the opportunity to leverage the best in terms of search engine optimization, however, this doesn’t mean in blogging you only write for search engines; the customer comes first. This helps in rendering the value along with things like social sharing and additional resources.

Social media

The platform of social networking  is not just a way to interact and make friends but also can be one of the best inbound marketing strategies in itself. Social networking sites have become a real new touchpoint to communicate with the existing and prospective clients. It is an excellent outlet for your business content. You will be able to build up your  social media strategy by simply identifying the most appropriate social networking site. Also, by merely having a social media profile on different sites does not mean that you have the same leverage for your PR activities, so you need to plan for the best. In order to start increasing your social profiles make sure you link properly to targeted links within your business site. For carrying out the business to business marketing, LinkedIn is more relevant along with other sites like Google Plus, Twitter, and YouTube. For business to consumers marketing purposes, sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest are ideal sites.

Paid Search Advertising

This is known as PPC (Pay Per Click) ads, which is a controversial strategy in the domain of inbound marketing. People often are seen debating it; some call it an important inbound marketing strategy, while others do not agree. Though you may find this strategy straddling the line, you can appropriately call it one of the best inbound marketing strategies, which can even be a robust one. PPC can be an important method, which helps in complementing your site traffic while you create organic or natural search authority via SEO enhancements. The fact of the matter is if you want to have high commercial intent searches, PPC can outrank the organic search results.

Word of Mouth

More than 90 percent of word of mouth ads often occur offline. So, how it is relevant to your inbound marketing is a big question to answer. If you talk about inbound marketing strategies, you can use strategy as a conversation starter. The inbound marketing strategies can be a tactic that will help in discussing your business. Though most of these conversations are happen online, you still have the option of influencing and shaping things for your PR activities. Ideas like events, promotions, interactive tools and contests communicated via the digital channels (social media and websites) can increase the engagement and thus build up your traffic.

Final word

Inbound marketing is all about talking and discussing ideas in your niche area, which you have targeted. If you are really interested in tapping inbound marketing for your startup PR activities, the above options can help you the most. Keep trying them out!

Kelly MarshKelly Marsh is the writer of this post. She writes articles on Women’s education, Health, Social Media and Online reputation.  These days she contributes on getamplify.

How to Turn a New Fan into a Lifelong Follower

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Matthew Yeoman– Enjoy! 

photo credit: Anna L. Schiller via photopin cc

photo credit: Anna L. Schiller via photopin cc

Taking those curious new social media followers and turning them into lifelong fans that are engaged with your brand takes work. The journey from “My pal RT’d one of your tweets,” to “I now follow everything you post!” does not happen instantly.

Read on to learn how to turn that first like, share, or retweet, into a lifelong follower. The key takeaway will be around creating a strong community – and I’m not talking about one built on group hugs – these a real social media community building tactics.

Make sure that the content is platform appropriate

Every social media platform offers something different to users. You have to use the unique features of each one to truly engage with your community and new followers:

  • Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram are visual content starved. Social Bakers found that Facebook posts with images get 93-96% more attention. New followers are going to look through your social profiles – make sure you have lots of images for them.
  • LinkedIn is mostly set up for B2B. This formal atmosphere requires in-depth professional content. Cracking jokes doesn’t work: I’ve tried!
  • Twitter is free form, provided you stay within the 140 character limit. It will work best if you comment on events in the moment they are happening.
  • YouTube is the King of Video Content – we all know that. In a business context, that video content is best presented with a familiar and regular host that your fans will connect with – no one wants to be friends with a faceless company.

Take the time to read and view what your competition has done. You can use their most successful content on each platform as a template for your efforts to get new fans following you.

Have regular giveaways and special promotions on your social media accounts

Regular giveaways, promotions and contests are the type of things that old fans love, and love to share. They are also what can really get new followers interested. A majority of the business social profiles I follow came my way from a friend sharing it with me.

For proof, a Nielsen study on Twitter users found that those who follow business accounts on the platform are doing so 52% of the time to be notified of giveaways, promotions, and contests.

Post consistently and have a schedule

Nothing builds a community like a social profile where users know when to show up. Having long and irregular delays between updates leads to more chances that followers, especially those new followers, will forget you.

Remember that a consistent schedule is not a CONSTANT schedule. I’ve used the term “tweet flooding” to describe a Twitter user who posts new tweets nearly non-stop, or in sudden bursts of four or more. This activity destroys a social profile and community.

Tools like Hootsuite are popular for help with consistency. You can sit down one day and plan out the content you’ll send out for a week or longer, schedule it, and never forget to post again.

Find them before they find you with your scheduling tool’s search function

A bonus aspect of a tool like Hootsuite is that it can be a community building tool for those who haven’t found you yet – you find them. Hootsuite has a search function which automatically finds certain keywords. That keyword can easily be your:

  • Brand name for those who mention you but don’t use your account profile.
  • Competitors name so you can monitor opportunities to engage with these fans.
  • Industry specific keywords and phrases.

Your scheduling tool can do more than just schedule – it can help you reach out to new people to include in your community who haven’t met you yet!

Talk to your new fans

You can not forget the ‘social’ part of ‘social media.’ Having one on one conversations with your new fans help to build a community. Even a simple “Hello to @newfollowers” can help welcome them and build that relationship as it builds your community.

newprofileNot only will these small acts increase brand loyalty, but they also show that you’re open to really talking – not just broadcasting a socially masked marketing message.
Matthew is the writer over on the Devumi.com Social Media Blog. You can find him there every Friday posting about increasing your Twitter followers, getting more YouTube subscribers, and commenting on other social media related news. He focuses on Twitter, YouTube, Google, Vimeo, SoundCloud, and Pinterest.

How to Add Serious Value to Your Online Community

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Jamie Thomson – Enjoy! 

According to research carried out by social media experts, Socialnomics, 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations, whereas only 14% trust advertisements. Perhaps that’s why online communities are so good at generating business referrals?

Developing an online community is all about engagement. As a small business owner, you want people to participate in your forum discussions, leave comments on your blog posts and recommend your products and services to other people. But how exactly do you go about achieving this?

The answer lies in the value that you add to your members. Here’s how you can inspire your online community and create a small army of brand catalysts.

Encourage Press Release Sharing

According to press release experts, PR Web, 80 million of us read our news online every day and amongst those 80 million people are your community. If you’re not already in the B2B marketplace, get other businesses in your industry involved in your community by encouraging them to share their press releases on your site. Not only will this improve your brand authority but it’ll also add huge value to your existing community members as they’ll be able to keep up to date with the latest movements in the marketplace without having to look elsewhere.

Create a Classifieds Board

In the same way that Gumtree enables people to post classified ads in their local area, enabling people to promote their services within your industry is a great way to add value to your community. A classifieds board will encourage people to visit your website regularly to see what promotions and offers are available. Consider allowing other businesses to post job vacancies on your site too as this can help improve your authority in the marketplace and establish your brand as a market leader. This in turn, will add value to your community as your members will associate themselves as being part of a successful network.

Initiate Collaborations

‘Hi Linda, have you met John?’ Much like a business version of Match.com, your website can become a hub for people in your industry to find collaborators with whom to create new projects. Actively promote new members who join your community and encourage existing members to introduce themselves. By creating business opportunities within your community, you’ll add significant value and encourage people to increase their presence on your website.

Develop a Forum Thread Specifically for Beginners

We all had to start our business careers somewhere, right? Why not make your online forum the place that those new to the market go to for advice on getting started in your industry? Developing a thread specifically for newcomers will help expand your community and recruit new members. It’ll also give more experienced users the opportunity to share their wisdom with others. Your thread may even lead to successful mentorships for your members.

Review Related Products and Services

The chances are that your industry isn’t limited to the types of products and services that your business offers. One way to add value to your community is to review related services that your website visitors will find useful. This can help establish your business as a trusted brand and will expand your community out with your own particular niche. Writing reviews will encourage people from all corners of the marketplace to visit your site for impartial information about the latest products in your industry.

Adding value to your online community will help you retain existing community members, attract new users and position your business in such a way that you’ll benefit from having an army of loyal fans spreading the word about your brand.

 

Jamie ThomsonJamie Thomson is a freelance copywriter at Brand New Copy where he writes about small business and content marketing on his copywriting blog. He’s also the founder of The Tutor Website, an online hub for small business owners in the private tutoring industry.

 

4 Steps to Leveraging Your Network to Build Your Business

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Jonathan Greechan– Enjoy!

Networking doesn’t have to be about luck, but most people I work with treat it that way. Like any marketing endeavor, some simple planning can greatly increase your chances of success. As Sun Tzu famously said, “Most battles are won before they are fought.”

Unlock the potential of your network to grow your business by following the simple, step-by-step plan below;

1. Define your Goals

Networking takes time, so any business goal that needs to be met within 3 months through networking is usually unrealistic. Therefore, list out two primary goals for the next 3 – 6 months, and then two secondary goals that you foresee being a priority in the 6 – 12 month range.

2. Identify your Targets

photo credit: Bogdan Suditu via photopin cc

photo credit: Bogdan Suditu via photopin cc

You don’t target a company – you target a person. Go narrow and deep (versus wide and broad), and find out who makes the purchasing or partnership decisions at the companies you are targeting. You can usually find this information by checking the speaker roster (and topics) from industry events, corporate press releases, and LinkedIn.

3. Identify Your “Strategic Contacts”

With the prevalence of social media, there is almost no excuse for a cold-call or cold-email anymore. As Mark Suster, a prominent venture capitalist, put it very aptly at my Founder Showcase event, “in the era of social networks, if you can’t figure out how to get access to a venture capitalist, hang up your cleats now. You don’t pass the IQ test.”

“Strategic Contacts” are contacts who can provide introductions to your targets, and creating a list of them is easy with LinkedIn’s “Advanced Search Tools”. Here are some things to keep in mind;

  • Scroll through the contacts of the people who come up in your searches – you’ll often discover positions and companies you didn’t know existed.
  • Once you’ve found a search that works best, be sure to “Save This Search” so you can use it in the future.
  • Use LinkedIn for research, but not for contacting. “InMail” and LinkedIn referral requests have become so bogged down by recruiters that most well connected people I know find them un-usable.

4. Email your Strategic Contacts

Now that you have your list of strategic contacts, it’s time to start your outreach via email, which should come in two parts.

Email 1: Create Value

One of my favorite rules of marketing is to always provide value before asking for it in return. This is doubly true for networking, and it does not even have to require a lot of effort – just a small “out of the blue” gesture to a strategic contact can pay large dividends.

For example:

  • Provide an unsolicited intro to somebody in the same industry (“… you two seem like you would have a lot to talk about.”)
  • Send a link to an interesting article about their industry (“… thought this article was interesting. You’ve been in the industry for a while – do you agree with the author?”)
  • A simple check-in (“… Yesterday I randomly thought about that event we both attended in ‘09, and how funny that emcee was. How are things going with you?  Everything well?”)

Whatever you do, just provide value, respond quickly, and keep the conversation going.

Email 2: The Ask

After you have provided value and some time has passed, it is time to ask your contact for an introduction to your target.

Keep the communication within the previous email stream, and send a simple two-sentence email;

  1. One sentence on your company, and what you are looking for.
  2. One sentence on the intro, which includes a mechanism to make the intro feel natural.

For example:

“[MY COMPANY NAME] is an app that connects parents and family-friendly events, and we’re looking for angel investors interested in mobile B2C apps to close out our seed round. I was hoping you could provide a quick intro to [YOUR TARGET] – she has invested in both parent-focused and event-focused apps, so I think we may fit nicely into her strategy.”

Closing Note

Networking is not a “one-off activity”, but if you follow the steps above, you can start leveraging your contacts to help build your business NOW.

Jonathan_Greechan_headshotJonathan Greechan is a Partner and the Head of Marketing at the Founder Institute – an entrepreneur training and startup launch program that has helped launch over 1250 tech companies across 6 continents. In addition, he is a Partner at TheFunded.com, and the Executive Producer of the Founder Showcase, a leading startup event in Silicon Valley. Jonathan has been heavily involved in startups and online marketing since 2004, and has advised hundreds of technology companies. Follow him on Twitter at @jonnystartup.

 

How to Get Paid for Everything You Do

get paid

photo credit: Historias Visuales via photopin cc

Far too often I see business owners and entrepreneurs just getting started that simply don’t value what they do enough because they don’t have the validation that comes with landing high-paying clients.

In short, in an effort to gain some traction and some exposure, they give everything away freely, or worse, get talked into doing things for people that don’t value what’s being given.

Here’s the deal though – everything you do has some value and you simply must start thinking this way if you even expect to rise above a meager existence. You must start to think about how to exchange value for everything you do.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are times when you determine to do someone a favor or support a cause or mission with no thought of being paid for your time – that’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about that instance when someone – often able to pay – wants you to provide a service for free or for a discount. Or that event that promises to give you great exposure if you come do your workshop without compensation.

The reality is that when someone gets something for free they value it far less than if they pay or exchange something for it. When you establish value – what you do becomes more valuable.

There can indeed be good reasons for waiving and discounting in exchange for things like exposure, but here’s my suggestion.

When someone makes a request like this think about exchanging value in a set way rather than saying yes and hoping something comes of it.

Here are some examples:

Get paid to speak

When someone asks you to speak to their lunch group, agree to do so willingly if you think it’s a fit, but also communicate that your normal speaking fee is $2,500 and in order to waive that fee you would like the ability to very casually educate the audience on your services.

The key here is to establish value and determine how you intend to collect it. It may be in the form of a list of attendees or ability to showcase your products in the back of the room. No matter what you suggest, make sure you communicate the process.

Get paid to provide a service

Let’s say you have a new service offering and you’re trying to drum up some initial clients. Offer a smoking hot deal in exchange for a full blown case study and testimonial video assuming they loved working with you.

These assets have value and it’s a far more appealing proposition than simply cutting your price. Now a customer gets a great deal and knows why.

Get paid for your product

Let’s say you have a new product and you’re trying to seed the market to get some users and customers talking about your product.

Reach out to handful of like-minded businesses and suggest a barter arrangement. That way you receive value for your product and perhaps initiate a few long term strategic marketing partner relationships.

Get paid to develop a product

This last one is one of my favorites. Let’s say you are developing a product or an online course. Reach out to some early prospects and offer to give them access as you are building the course in exchange for their systematic feedback and review of the course. (Good way to get lots of proofreaders too!)

Again, the key here is to think value first and price second. Sure, they’ll be a day when you can charge a premium for what you do, but in the meantime don’t let people take it.

Five Selling Mistakes that Cost You Marketing Dollars

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Mike Montague– Enjoy!

sales-mistakesMost businesses these days seem to take a sales or marketing approach to business development instead of a sales AND marketing approach. These common mistakes in sales can cost you marketing dollars and a lot of revenue from potential sales. If you are looking for a better return on your marketing budget, you might try looking at your sales department.

You don’t tightly target your prospects.

When business is slow, the temptation to tell your story to whomever will listen is great.  Instead, be choosy about the people to whom you “tell your story.”  Use your existing customer base to identify the characteristics of your best customers.  With that information, have the sales and marketing departments sit down together and develop a profile of your “ideal” customer.  Then, search out prospects that most closely fit the profile.  You may meet with fewer people, but you’ll close more sales.

You’re not sufficiently selective about the prospects with whom you meet.

Expressing an “interest” in your product or service is not a strong enough reason to schedule an appointment with a potential prospect. If prospects’ “interests” aren’t backed by recognized needs or desires for your product or service – now or in the immediate future – then there’s no compelling reasons to meet with them.  Find out why prospects are interested and what trigger event sparked their interest before you schedule sales appointments.  Use the marketing department to score the leads and nurture them until they are “sales ready”.

You neither establish credibility nor demonstrate expertise.

In sales, your job is to help the prospect view their situation from different perspectives and discover elements or aspects of their challenges they didn’t previously recognize.  And most importantly, you can’t just tell them! Prospects can get information from your marketing, but you must be able to ask questions in such a manner as to help prospects make those “discoveries” through a conversation.  Here’s an example:

When you asked your production manager to measure the injection pressure differential between the beginning and end of the production cycle and to what extent it contributed to the casting inconsistencies, what did he report?

Educating your prospects through intelligent questions demonstrates your understanding of their problems and allows the prospect to discover your expertise. It is perhaps the single most important skill to master in modern selling.

You don’t ask “tough” questions.

To be valuable as a salesperson, you must be able to identify elements at the center of controversies, uncover root causes of problems, discover carefully guarded information, and obtain rarely volunteered commitments.  You won’t be able to accomplish any of those tasks without asking tough questions. Again, marketing materials can explain features and benefits, but only great salespeople can ask and answer tough questions.

You rush to make presentations.

Many salespeople are too eager to make presentations.  They view them as opportunities to establish the value of their products or services by demonstrating their unique aspects. However, the real purpose of presentations is to confirm your ability to deliver the solutions prospects are predisposed to buy.

Until you know what and why you are presenting, you should refrain from making presentations.  Don’t cool off your lead from the marketing department by presenting information they don’t care about, instead heat it up by discussing the prospect’s situation and understanding why they are considering your help.

Make the most of your marketing and sales opportunities!

If both departments work together, the harmony can take your organization to the next level. Marketing can become sales enablement specialists who create and nurture leads, and then escort them over to sales at the perfect time. The sales team can relax and become closing conversation masters that bring the expertise of a trusted advisor to remove road blocks for prospects. Both departments can work together to create an environment that allows the customer to buy and enjoy doing so!

These five mistakes are just some of the ways selling mistakes hurt your marketing. If you can think of others, please share them in the comments below.

 

Mike-Montague-2013-smThis is a guest blog by Mike Montague, Associate and Certified Trainer at Sandler Training Kansas City. Sandler Training empowers their clients to achieve higher levels of success through innovative training courses in sales, management, and customer service for companies and individuals around the Kansas City area. They offer public and private courses for individuals and organizations who value lifelong learning and continuous improvement.