This is the transcript of Episode 4 from a post-pandemic business series requested by a South African radio station. The recording is available here.
Many small business owners started the business because they were really good at doing what the business does and keeping customers happy. Keeping customers happy will increase the chances of their return business and might even result in them telling others to buy from you. While this is the best way to generate business, in my experience just doing good work is not enough to bring in new customers.
Businesses also have to constantly find and sell to potential new customers. For small businesses this might mean that the owner has to be great at doing and selling. For larger businesses it means that the leader has to ensure that those employed to sell don’t just keep on selling to existing or past customers, but also actively works at identifying, researching and connecting with potential new customers.
There are so many sales training and marketing videos available for free online that it can feel a little overwhelming. So here’s a few simple things to get you going:
Start with thinking who might need what you offer. Think about what they read, which social media groups they consult, etc and make sure you have an active presence there. For example, if your target audience is moms with small children, they most probably spend quite a bit of time on Instagram. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a fan of social media or not; if your customers are on there, and you’re not, you’re missing out on an easy way to remain top of their minds.
If your target audience is more professional, then you have to be active on Linkedin and most probably have a website that they could find everything they need to know about you and what you offer.
Your sales efforts will be a lot easier if you contact people that have already spent time online with your brand. Similarly, even if your first personal contact didn’t turn into a sale, that person might go follow you online and turn into a sale later.
So what do people want to hear or see when you sell to them? They want to know less about what the product is, and more about what it can do for them.
Which means every message you post online, every piece of wording on your website, every sales email you write and sales call you make has to immediately answer their question “how does this help me?”.
Saying you’re the best isn’t enough anymore. You’ve got to know your potential customers so well that you know what their needs are. A phone call or social media post saying “We see many home owners in your area struggle with termites over the past month, and they’ve trusted us to keep their properties damage free” will go down much better than a call or post saying “We do pest control”.
Spend time and effort researching your potential customers, and spend time and effort crating messages that will address their needs, not your awesomeness.
Make sure you follow up with customer queries as soon as you can. On social media, it should be almost instant.
Once you’ve closed a sales deal, make sure your processes and people are geared to do everything they can to offer top quality products and services in a way that delights the customer. There is nothing worse than creating high expectations during the sales process only to have those expectations shattered when it comes to getting or using what was promised.
Marketing and sales require quite a bit of effort and that’s why many businesses don’t give it enough attention, but think about it this way: as business owner or leader your number one priority should be finding and keeping customers that buy from you, otherwise you don’t have a business, you’re just someone that can make a product or offer a service.
Only once when there are customers does it become necessary to make the product or offer the service.