by Bea Fields
No matter what stage your small business is in, one thing is for sure: money matters! If you are in a slump, the fastest way to jump-start your sales is to reach out and touch as many people as possible using your unique talents and gifts. These ten tips will guide you to maximizing profits from your small business while becoming a biz expert one day at a time.
- Choose your words with care.
Each time you speak, you have the chance to make or break your business. Use active sentences that speak confidence: "We need to fix this today," and use tones that are neutral (avoid talking too loudly, too quickly, too softly, or too slowly).
- Consider using kids as marketing consultants.
Children have a natural tendency to think outside of the box, and they can be an asset for entrepreneurs trying to reach a booming, growing market.
- Build lasting relationships.
Communicate with your customers even when you are not trying to sell them something. Send handwritten congratulatory notes, give gifts as a follow-up to a sale or referral, personalize e-mails and faxes to existing clients, and incorporate "little acts of kindness" into your daily business routine.
- Make small talk.
Ask open-ended questions, and remember to listen closely. Decide who your best prospects are, where you will find them, and go where they are: meetings, committees, the local coffee shop, the circus, the university campus, or a shopping plaza.
- Know your birth order.
Did you know that whether you are the youngest, oldest, or middle in your birth order can influence how you run your business? Research shows that first-borns are often conscientious, obedient, and hard-driving. Later-borns are often more flexible, innovative, laid-back, and social. Middle-borns are often negotiators, supportive, hardworking, and love to please.
- Use a headset.
Talking on the phone for a few hours a day can be draining for even the heartiest of entrepreneurs. Headsets allow increased productivity, as they can free up your hands and allow you to think more creatively while roaming around during a telephone conversation.
- Turn invoices into a marketing communication tool.
On your invoices, add computer-generated messages that promote upcoming events, new products or services, or seasonal specials and announcements. This one act can enable your customers to understand more about your company and how they can effectively do business with you.
- Do your homework!
Before you can do business with someone, it is crucial to know his or her business inside and out. Turn to the internet, library, or call the company directly to dig for information about the company or industry. You will be much better prepared to meet the needs of a prospective client by conducting thorough research in advance.
- Polish your presentation skills.
Even if you have the most sophisticated technology, you cannot make a sale if you have not polished your presentation skills. Tips: Stay loose, stand or sit solidly (not stiff), connect with your audience by using terms they understand, and share your passion. Your enthusiasm, excitement, and energy can make or break a presentation.
- Be dedicated to learning.
If you are learning, you are growing. Hit the books, go back to school, and surround yourself with people who are "in the know." You are never too old to learn new things, which can translate into better business, effective management techniques, and innovation.
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