Each week as Smallbizlady, I conduct interviews with small business experts on my weekly Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. This is excerpted from my #SmallBizChat interview with Jennifer Abernethy @saleslounge. Jennifer is America’s Sales Stylist for The Sales Lounge and author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Social Media Marketing.
Small Biz Lady: Why is important for small business owners to have a sales strategy?
Jennifer Abernethy: Because they need to know where they are going! Or where they want to be in terms of revenue!
They also need to know how much they want to bring in. Example if you want to make 100K per year…how much will you need to bring in each month?
Small Biz Lady: What’s the first thing folks need to do with their sales strategy?
Jennifer Abernethy: Then they need to figure out the best way to achieve that goal in the fastest way possible. Example: Then you need to account for holiday’s /vacation time etc.
Then they need to figure out the best way to achieve that goal in the fastest way possible looked at Facebook and said..”okay there are 30 million people on this site..I need 30 to become clients.”
Small Biz Lady: What are common mistakes small biz owners make when it comes to sales?
Jennifer Abernethy: They forget to pick up the phone….Daily! They bring their moods to work. On my worst days my clients NEVER know it. They lose focus…and forget they have a goal they have to attain. And they are afraid to ask for the sale! It’s also good to have an accountability coach… or someone to help you stay focused
Use my 5 x 5 rule..(It’s helped me for 20+ years) Make 5 calls a day 5 days a week..to people you DON”T know. Also take your goal..say $100K per year..and break it down per month. Now..what do you need to do to make it? When I was in corporate..we looked at our numbers..not only DAILY but WEEKLY. And I mean LOOKED at the numbers.
Big tip: You NEVER know where your next customer is coming from..could be sitting next to you on plane..everything is business. On calls, do your calls in the A.M. Get names from LinkedIN, Twitter, FB
Small Biz Lady: How can small biz owners incorporate social media into their sales strategy?
Jennifer Abernethy: Whether you work in sales for someone else or have your own business…Get on social media and begin networking and sharing your expertise. Facebook is the world’s largest tradeshow and they give you two free booths. One for you the networking professional and one for your business page. What does your “booth” on Facebook say about you when folks stop by.
Think about what sites make sense to start with…I video is a huge differentiator for people today…I highly recommend getting a Youtube channel and going for it. I also feel Twitter is key for networking and you can meet people change your business and life. Be an open networker both online and off..that is key. BTW, Video is HUGE now ..do video!
Small Biz Lady: What’s the difference between a sales strategy and your marketing/branding strategy?
Jennifer Abernethy: Marketing is visibility. Get known, be seen, be findable both online and off. Your reputation /followup & style is marketing. Sales Strategy: Numbers. Goals. Who you want/need to meet. Where you need to be seen, what you need to say. Sales is really how you work your business. You’re really focused on relationships, numbers and amazing customer service. Get testimonials, network. Make sure a lot of people know about YOU and how you help them. Listen. Listen…did I say..Listen. The best sales strategy out there is listening.
Small Biz Lady: What are the top marketing tactics that can help small biz owners increase sales?
Jennifer Abernethy: Start speaking…any chance you get..on panels..at luncheons..then try to be the breakout session speaker and then keynote. It’s scary at first but it is absolutely one of the best ways to be seen as the go to expert and reach many people in the shortest amount of time.
Remember outside of your website and social media your communication, attire, your business card, voice mail are all a part of your selling and branding strategy. Keep focused on the numbers look at each week how you did..how many new calls, how much did you follow up..how much marketing did you do? Keep asking what else do I need to do to achieve my revenue goal. Be easy to work with…and help others no matter what you do.
Small Biz Lady: Is email marketing still an effective strategy for small business?
Jennifer Abernethy: Email Marketing is an effective part of strategy. I put out an ultra hip ezine using constant contact. Love it! Your customers need to hear from you weekly or every other week. Don’t rely on them coming to you. Give VALUEABLE information in your email marketing. EZINE is a great way to share your expertise. And don’t forget a great email signature is a great marketing sales tool if used creatively. Video email is HOT HOT HOT!
Small Biz Lady: For small biz owners who want to learn more about sales, what resources would you recommend?
Jennifer Abernethy: I love Entrepreneur magazine ..it inspires me. I also love Success Magazine. I love following successful people. How they network, look at their website, their writing, they are some of your best resources.
The main thing is BE YOURSELF. Your Sales Style is what makes you unique. People want to know YOU!!
Small Biz Lady: When creating a successful sales strategy, what are three things small biz owners need to remember?
Jennifer Abernethy: Your “DIGITAL RELATIONSHIPS” WILL BE THE NEW CURRENCY FOR SALES over the next 12 months! Be an open networker. My biggest sales and opportunities usually came from people whom I least expected it from. Stay open. Social Business 2.0 and Video are the next BIG WAVE.
Small Biz Lady: What’s your favorite sales motivation quote or mantra?
Jennifer Abernethy: Have an attainable (yet assertive goal.) Don’t be afraid to pick up the darn phone. Be an OPEN NETWORKER. Sales is not a four letter word…it’s a five! Do YOU …well!