Internet Schmoozing With Your Clients

Social went Internet

Schmoozing: to converse casually, especially in order to gain an advantage or make a social connection.
Probably since ever schmoozing has been used in sales with clients.
Now that the relationships have expanded into the Internet on social websites, you should be schmoozing with your clients on the Internet too.

Schmoozing should go Internet too

Thus search for your clients on the different popular social websites like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, … .
Follow them in order to review their content in order to know what interests them. Often “like” their content and every now and then share their content. If appropriate you should respond to their statuses and updates.
Your customers will start noticing your interest and approval. Moreover you will draw more people to their content or website.
You could also share the blog content of your customers or at least post comments when you feel it is appropriate or related to you business or industry.

This schmoozing will work both ways:
- Your customer gets (more) attention and eventually more followers which extend his reach
- You will get noticed by your customer and it is likely to create a relationship

Just don’t over-schmooze it. Trop is trop. Less is more.

Do you schmooze with your customers ? In real life or also on the Internet?

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The future vs budgets

The future

You cannot control the future
You cannot create the future
You can only be part of the future
The future will happen with or without you
Make sure you are part and fit in with the future.

The budget

These are the reasons why budgeting is so difficult.
It is beyond the control of all CEO’s and Board of Directors whatever models and information are being used.
The future will happen whatever decision is being made about the budget. It is likely not to be inline with the budget as there are too many parameter, variables and events that have an influence on the future and your sales.
Just make sure you make the best of your future.

How do you budget ?
How well does it match the reality afterwards ?

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How To Reward New Customers

Burning the resistance to change

A customer finding the way to your products or services and actually purchasing them is an achievement as most people don’t want to change their habits. People and companies continue to purchase from the same vendors over and over again for a long time: the resistance to change. There has to be a good reason for change. The previously used vendor, reseller or supplier must have upset the customer or the products or services were below expectations. A reason for burning the resistance to change.

How did they find you?

With every new customer it is important to figure out how they found you and why the were looking for a different supplier or source.
Knowing how they found your company is important to know as this indicates where to put your marketing efforts.

Rewarding new customers

So if a new customer emerges you should almost reward him as you are likely to start a long relationship with him for just the same reasons: continuity.
Of course you can’t reward a new customer with an additional discount for his first purchase. In such event then what should you give as discount on his next purchase ? Even more discounts are not sustainable.
However you can give him your best service and make sure his first buying experience is superb. People will remember their first purchase from a new vendor or supplier. And it is not the discount that is most important but your service and the convenience.

Smooth operator

When people buy from a new vendor there is a certain level of uncertainty and risk involved which will make the customer nervous: he is afraid his change and decision could turn out badly. Hence the requirement to make sure his first purchase runs smoothly.

Viral

If a new customer is enthusiastic or excited by his successful decision of purchasing with a new supplier, vendor or reseller, it is likely he will talk about during social events as he is proud of his decision of change. he might even try to persuade his peers to change to you as a new supplier.

How do you reward new customers ?

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How The Me Generation Culture Impacts Your Selling

From collectivism

Up to thirty years ago most popular sports were exercised in group:
Football, soccer, basket ball, volleyball, sailing, rowing, …
All these sports required a team and collaboration in order to perform the sport and win the contests. Collaboration and group activity was the primary method to enjoy your spare time.

To Individualism

Since then the individual sports haven’t stopped gaining popularity:
Surfing, skiing, skating, windsurfing, snowboarding, paragliding, kite surfing, base jumping, …
All these new sports are about one person and his proper achievement: ‘Me Myself and I’.

Group sports are on the retreat whereas individual sports just increase in number of people exercising these sports. And those who don’t exercise: instead of watching TV shows they play games on their PC or console.
Instead of all the hassle of making the appointment to get together, people just want to excel in their favorite sport and the social part has become secondary.

Cultural change implies Selling change

As people have changed so much in their activities during their spare time, their buying will be different. Hence the selling needs to be different too.

In the good old days Sales people went to boot camps attended in large numbers in order to get training and exchange experiences.
The best example are the National Cash Register (NCR) boot camps established by its’ founder John Patterson.

Today the need for boot camps is long gone as training is feasible using on-line web seminars and the exchange of experiences is likely to happen using the very direct new communications channels from mobile phone, webinars, to texting and Instant Messengers.

Not solely the sales people have changed but also the buyers and decision makers who instead of visiting mass events like trade shows and conferences, will search and gather information on-line from their desk.
This change is upon you too.

Are you prepared for this change?
Are people really not interested in trade shows, conferences and boot-camps anymore, or is it just the economy?

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Instead Of Saving Time You Should Be More Efficient

Time is money

Vendors propose all kinds of solutions to save time. As time is money, these new systems or methods proposed should save you money: which is true.

However it is not because you save time, that you are also more efficient or performing more efficiently.
The new method can be very fast by using the current methods or the traded pathways. However it is likely to be just a sub-optimum as a much more efficient solution can exist.
Hence we always have to look for alternative solutions.

Example: Outbound marketing vs inbound marketing

Currently Outbound marketing using email campaigns are common and most used. These email systems systems allow you to address possibly almost all potential customers in a certain market. A wide variation of software applications and web services are available that will improve the required time to send an email marketing campaign out.
These email marketing solutions save time in organizing, setting up and administration. But are they really the best to win more customers ?

An improvement over broadcast email marketing campaigns would be if you would only address those companies or people that are really looking for your solution or have interest for a solution you offer.
Inbound marketing is way more efficient than outbound marketing: less is more.

Efficiency improvement instead of saving time

Thus the next time you look for an improvement for your business, look for the alternative solution that brings you a real efficiency improvement and which generates more business.

How efficient is your lead generation ?

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How To Avoid Leads From Your Website Getting Wasted

Lost leads

More than often when you fill out a contact or inquiry form on a website you never ever hear back from the company. Apparently often something goes wrong in the process and you as a lead for the company is lost.
Moreover it is rather unlikely you will contact the company again and you will probably not consider buying from this company because of the perception of lack of interest in you as a potential customer.

Online form Process flow

When a online contact or inquiry form gets completed it ends up in a digital file on a server – it might even get printed on a sheet of paper. The issue is then how it gets distributed to the salesman who should contact the potential customer. The process step from the automatic append of the file on the server to getting distributed to a salesman that requires human interaction.
In case this process flow is executed then the salesman needs to see or perceive enough interest in this lead to actually take action. Why should he invest time for calling or emailing the potential client ? The salesman has more deals and potential customers on his hand than he can handle and all these have had already human interaction: the salesman can put a face or event on each of the potential deals.
Chances are that in case of lack of time or insufficient apparent interest or insignificant deal the salesman will forget about the website lead as he doesn’t know the person which can be an additional hurdle.

Solution

One way to check or even recoup the deal is by sending an automated email response after 2 or 3 business days to the potential customer to inquire if his inquiry has been followed up or answered. This is relatively easy to organize and has the potential to obtain more information on the almost lost deals as they haven’t been followed up.

Additionally a system can be installed that reveals the companies visiting which allows the salesman better estimate the level of interest and the value of the potential customer of his leads from the contact and inquiry forms as he can see how often and how many pages have been visited by how many people of the company are actually interested.

How do you handle website leads ?

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Do Brand Tribes Exist In B2B Too ?

Consumer Brand Tribes

Brand Tribes exist in consumer business.
The best known example is the Apple Tribe of consumers who just buy almost anything from Apple.
Brand Tribes have several advantages for the company:
- When launching a new product the initial adoption is very likely
- Members of the brand Tribe will defend the products or services
- Members of the Brand tribe are advocates for the company
- No Press Release or news will go unnoticed

B2B Brand Tribes

Do Brand Tribes also exist within Business-To-Business ?
In the past there have been several examples of fans of companies:
- IBM in the seventies and eighties
- DIGITAL in the late seventies and beginning of the eighties
- Apple Mac for graphic designers
In almost any industry there are people who have a preference for certain companies. Their bias might be not so strongly expressed as within B2C but it surely exists.
Hence Brand Tribe in B2B does really exist.

The challenge is to build and grow your brand tribe amongst professional people who are less likely to be driven by emotion and subjectivity than consumers.

Does your company have tribal marketing or tribal branding ?

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The Social Marketing Noise Is Louder Than The Signal

Social media noise

Social media has become ever more important for marketing to communicate to potential and current customers. The more the content of a company gets redistributed the better.

How ever Social media has become a gigantic content redistribution network where the origin of the content becomes hard to find.
The noise has become louder than the signal.

Stand out

A marketeer publishing a message to a targeted audience is likely not to be heard as the noise has become louder than the signal. Messages need to stand out and need to be noticed.

All companies fight to get the attention on Social media as the competition for attention is fierce within all this noise. Thus marketing departments of companies need to come up with messages that catches on.

How to stand out

One way to go is to create as many messages in the hope some or at least one catches on. Just trial and error.

Probably the key feature is the entertainment level. Marketeers should become entertainers instead of creating marketing messages to sell products which is quite disruptive for them.

Entertainment can come in many forms and formats: humor, interesting content, stats, impressive images, …
Up to the marketeer to imagine what could trigger the interest of their potential customers and their current customers. Creating content while keeping in mind that the replication is a must have.

How do your Social Marketing messages stand out in Social Media?

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The Discount Thrill Of Chiefs, Managers And Bosses

The gambling thrill

Most, if not all, people get a thrill or get excited when winning at gambling. This is common. Some people just get addicted to gambling and go to the extend of risking all of their money or even assets for the thrill of winning.

The discount thrill

While purchasing most people are happy or feel special if they get a discount on the sales price.
However there are also people who want more than the normal discount. They will go into a discussion in order to get their high discount. They will only make a purchase if they get a high discount, higher than the first proposed discount. It seems these CxO’s (CEO, COO, CFO, CIO, CSO), managers or bosses have the Discount Thrill.
It’s their game and their excitement.

Extreme discussions for discount

These people will go to extreme situations in order to get the discount. They will make statements or even threat the salesman when they aren’t granted the big discount they are aiming at. They will even not buy and stick with their problem or buy an inferior product or solution with a big discount just because they didn’t get their special discount from any of the other vendors.

Can the salesman handle the discount thrill?

For the salesmen these type of customers are a real problem:
- They consume time by ongoing price discussions
- They decrease the margin and as such the commission

In case the salesman has sufficient sales for the quarter it might be better to ignore the advances and discussions of these type of customers.
However if the salesman needs the revenue he will go through a long painful negotiation which is likely to result in a big discount. He will need all his skills to limit the amount of discount if he wants to close the deal. The best is not to show any indication of his need for the sale deal and act accordingly.

How do you handle discount thrill Chiefs and Bosses ?

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Why Do Customers Want To Call ? And We Don’t

As we have an online service I always wonder why people want to call. All possible information is available online, the price quote and link to their personalized payment page are send by email. Paying for subscription happens also online.

Verification

Some people just want to talk to one of the managers of the web service just to verify if the company really exists and is legit.
This is easy but even this short phone call is a waste of time for us.
Wondering why replying emails is not sufficient.

Discount

Some businessmen only will buy if they get an additional discount as they are used to get it. It’s part of their habit and culture. In their view the best way to get their additional discount is to have a call with the vendor in order to persuade and convince (or make believe) they are an important customer who will bring additional business. However that never happens.
So this type of customers are even more a waste of time as these type of calls will take long.

Information

Some people expect to get a walk-through of the service or a complete training on the application. However this is why we offer a 30-day free trial.
We know that similar but expensive web services offer walk-through and 24/7 support – but you pay the price.
As we are a low-cost service no walk-through or trainings are possible. Instead the free trial and the explanatory and helpful emails during the free trial.

Company size and brand

We always wonder if people want to call us did they also call Google for using the search or the web analytics? Probably not. It’s just a mater of company size and brand name.

Upselling

As a low-cost web service we don’t see any benefit in having phone calls with potential customers and just want to limit conversations to emails.
If we would have a possibility to do an upsell, then we would have a reason to take phone calls with customers as this could bring additional revenue.

What is your attitude to calling customers?

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About us

Engago Technologies provides a B2B web service for marketing and sales.
 

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