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Think You Need to Hire a Salesperson? Leverage the Internet First.

Written By: Mark E. Goodman | No Comments

leverage the InternetYour business is growing. That’s the good news. But you find your sales and support staff are stretched trying to find new business and taking care of the customers that you already have. Should you hire another salesperson? Not necessarily.

You have a website and some other Internet presence such as a Facebook company page, Twitter account, YouTube channel or other online property. However, you have a sense that they are not being leveraged as effectively as they could be.

I would like to suggest that you use your existing sales team to cement relationships, overcome objections and close sales. Use the Internet to generate and maintain awareness, showcase expertise and demonstrate differentiation in the market of your products / services.

Incorporate online presence into your sales process.

Why recreate the wheel every time you try to convert a prospective customer? If you have done your homework, you already know the typical questions a prospect has. Make sure you have a FAQs (frequently asked questions) page that has the information they want.

Get testimonials from happy customers and spread them out on the various pages of your website. (Nobody looks at a testimonials page.) Social proof – what someone else says about you – has much more weight than what you say about your company.

When following up with a prospect after an introduction, include a specific link from your website in the email such as a link to your page with the specific product or service the prospect is interested in.

Here are some specific examples:

  • A building inspector meets people at networking events and invites them to connect with him on LinkedIn. He regularly posts his inspections and meetings online so people can see his status updates in his LinkedIn stream and he stays top of mind.
  • A moving company needs to showcase their expertise to win a bid. They create a specific page on their website featuring that expertise with appropriate informational videos. They win the bid, along with the comment from the customer, “Wow, you guys had a page that specifically addressed the solution we needed.” Your sales cycle just got a lot shorter. 

Use the Internet to turn the first sales call into the second call.

Before the first meeting, send links to YouTube videos that feature your expertise. Allow the prospect to learn about you virtually, and overcome objections or concerns in advance of your meeting. Now your meeting can get to the heart of the matter like their budget, timeline, etc.

You also can use video to address questions prospects always have like, “Do they have other customers like me?” or “What is their experience in my industry segment?” or “Can they handle a job like this?”

Here are a couple of examples:

  • A heating and cooling company competes against major manufacturers. They demonstrate installations of their products and explain how they are different from their competitors.
  • An accounting firm creates video profiles of their staff to showcase the diversity of background and experience of their professionals. Giving a face – or several faces – to the company can be a very successful sales and marketing strategy. 

Research shows that most people do some kind of Internet research before they call or e-mail for additional information. What that means is your ideal clients are finding information about your company before you even know who they are. Make sure they find the right stuff – the information that answers their questions and positions your company in the best light.

Effective use of the Internet and your online content will enable your sales team to focus on prospects that are closer to making a purchase. Both existing customers and prospects will be better informed about your offerings, enabling you to close more sales with fewer calls or meetings.

Fewer calls to close will enable your current staff to make more money, and you to have higher profits.

What online content are you going to develop to make selling easier? I’d love to hear what you will be creating in the comments below. 

Article written by
Mark Goodman is the President & CEO of e-Conversation Solutions. He is also past workshop chair at SCORE Chicago. Prior to founding e-Conversation, Mark held numerous positions as a technology executive, including Director of Business Development at Motorola, where he was the first business manager in the cell phone group. In addition to Motorola, Mark was an executive for a Silicon Valley company and a film buyer for General Cinema Theatres. Mark holds an MBA from Boston University and an MA in radio/TV/film from Northwestern University.