Big companies have obvious advantages over small businesses. Their brands are well-known. They can afford sales training, sales-support staff and customer-relationship management software.
On the other hand, there are good reasons why Cyber Monday has become big. Yes, many online customers do it to save money on sales taxes. The other salient reason – poor customer service by many companies. Yes, their Achilles heel – poor customer service.
So don’t let such advantages dissuade you from doing the necessary footwork for success. Remember size doesn’t matter but image, professionalism count.
Here are basics you need to put into practice:
- Know your strengths and capitalize on them. Differentiate your business in quality, convenience, and service. Don’t forget to highlight the quality of your people. Practice the eight best practices in small business marketing.
- Know your weaknesses and capitalize on them. Smallness is a quality. It means you’re more mobile, and it takes less time for you to provide solutions – there are no out-of-town committees making decisions. You provide more value. You don’t waste money – your customers won’t have to pay for expensive facilities for your business-lunch entertainment.
- Make cold calls. Here’s more on the lost art – how and why to use cold-calling for higher sales.
- To grow, remember two concepts – “Act as if…” and “fake it till you make it.” Even if you are apprehensive but if you do your best to speak to prospects with conviction, they will feel your passion.
- Know when to cut your losses. That’s an adage from economics 101. If you’re making sales calls but sense you’re getting nowhere, focus on your other prospects. On the other hand, there’s another adage – “The longer they keep you waiting, the more they want you.” Some prospects might be interested but they’re too busy to act, or they might be waiting to see if you’re stable and going to be around for a long time. I’ve had many likeable vendors call on me, but they give up too soon before I’m ready to buy.
- Understand that you are the company. First impressions are critical. Be mindful – of your appearance, enthusiasm, empathy, talent and commitment– to provide solutions.
- Remember your time, service and products are valuable. Providing added value can be helpful. But don’t let customers take advantage of you. When you’re asked to do something for free, look for opportunities to capitalize on the request. Get something in return. Make certain such customers reciprocate. Use the 22 do’s and don’ts for successful negotiations.
- Make certain you cater to appreciative clientele. Make certain you get a thank you. If they don’t show gratitude, ask for it in a subtle way (“So you like our product?” Or, “You like the way we handled the problem?”)
- Know which customers are profitable. Be congenial. But don’t break your back for a customer who expects you to repeatedly bend over backwards. In any economy, know what drives your profit.
- Make certain each employee understand sales and customer service. See profit drivers – how and why to partner with your employees.
- Make the right investments for selling and serving your customers. That means cost-effective technology, and customer service and sales training for your employees. Learn how small businesses can capitalize on cyber strategies for profit. Here are 8 tips for cold calling by e-mail and telephone.
From the Coach’s Corner, for consulting and service firms, here are three resource links:
- Consultants / Service Firms: Why Hourly Billing Isn’t Best
- 60 Ground Rules for Effective Client Service
- Your Dream is to be a Consultant? Here’s How to Develop Your Vision Plan.
“Remember, you only have to succeed the last time.”
Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.