Marketing

Creativity

Have you ever thought how creative salespeople need to be? Creativity is the process for coming up with new ideas. Why do salespeople need new ideas? Solving customer problems, finding applications for products, meeting customer needs, addressing competition, prospecting for new customers, and on and on. Knowing that you need to be creative and being creative are two different things.
Practice Management

Four Easy Steps to Better Firm/Company Newsletters

How long has it been since you've taken a good look at your firm or company newsletter? Even if you don't write it in-house and buy it from a trusted source, you'll want to make sure your newsletter is a good reflection of your firm or company and truly maintains a long-lasting relationship with your clients and customers.First, set objectives for your newsletter - what are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to improve networking, communicate information in print rather than in person or e-mail ... or something entirely different?
A&A

Forbes Spotlights 200 U.S. Best Small Companies

We promise this story will make you feel "young," at least in the world of small business and the rash of online companies.Who made the grade on this year's Forbes' Hot 200 list of small companies in America?You'll be surpised to find out. Among the biggest surprise is that there are no "dot.com" companies on the list.

"Developing" a Better Photo Image

Every firm has its own set of marketing materials, but how long has it been since you've updated the photos in both your printed/collateral materials and on your Web site? If you're like most of us, the answer is too, too long!There are ways to obtain stock photography without breaking the bank and laws of copyright. Stock photos used to cost quite a bit in usage fees, but the latest trend is to secure stock photos via a CD-ROM collection in which the user pays a one-time fee just for the CD-ROM and avoids any royalty charges.Be careful about using photos unlawfully.

Growth Areas For The Year 2000

What specific services or products do you feel have the greatest growth potential for your firm in the year 2000? Please be as detailed as you can so others can share your vision.Please click on the Add Comments link below to add your responses.You may scroll down on this screen to see what others have said.Thank you for your input!Michael PlattAccountingWEB Editor

Newsletters - What does yours say about you?

The only reason to create a newsletter is to make money by selling goods or services. What's spent on producing literature must show a return. Otherwise, it's money flushed down the drain. If your readers wouldn’t call you when they miss an issue, chances are your marketing dollars are better spent somewhere else.Your newsletter can make your company appear professional, human and established. To do that, keep these ideas in mind:Write for your readers’ level. Don’t talk down to them and don’t technospeak above their head.

Holiday Gifts ARE What They're Wrapped up to be

The season of giving gifts continues. A story recently ran on AccountingWeb discussing the need to match the right gift to the right person.Thought needs to be given as well to how you present the present. For example, if you are sending perishable goods, you need to ensure the company sending the gift provides more than lip service when it comes to wrapping and shipping. Nothing's worse than sending a fruit basket just to find out the fruit arrived crushed.Here are some tips.

Thank Those Clients

‘Tis the season to be jolly! Once a year gifts can send a nice message to clients. They simply say, “We appreciate you and your business.” So, what should you send?You could send a card that is designed especially for you. The cost for this is minimal for design and the printing costs often are less than buying a commercial holiday card. Want to add a little something to your card? Make a donation on behalf of your clients and let them know the receiving organization in your card.

Are You Writing Well For The Web?

You’ve been to sites where the first page is text, text, text, right? Well, don’t be one of those sites. Writing for the web is different than writing for print. Think about your own web surfing habits. Do you read each line? Or do you skim and hop to the content for which you are looking?So what do you need to know? First, keep your writing personalized and interesting. If your reader doesn’t see something that grabs them, they will simply click onto something else. Let your firm’s style and personality show through your writing.

Keeping Score

If you play sports it’s very easy to know how you’re doing. Just check the score. In selling there is no program or scorecard. Sure, you can check your sales figures, but selling may take several calls. Unless we make a joint sales call, we have no one to ask., “How’d I do?” Until we get the order, how do we know how we’re doing? Let’s keep score in a different way.The 80/20 rule. You can tell the quality of the sales call by who is doing the talking. If your customer is doing 80% of the talking and you’re talking 20% give yourself some points.

Speed Skiing

I recently met an Olympic skier. He set the Canadian record for skiing in 1992. His feat was speeding down a mountain at 135 M.P.H. He went from amateur skier to Olympic skier in 5 years. If I make it sound easy, it wasn’t. His was the story of an ordinary skier who became an extraordinary one. The story of his training to replicate competitive skiing conditions and improve performance was incredible, amusing and harrowing.

Let Me Show You What I’m Worth

We all want to keep our competition out of our business, but we need to do more than wish to make it happen. Showing what we’re worth and getting it is a process that can keep your competition out. It’s like buying “customer insurance.” (If only we could!) You make it harder for your competitor to steal your business by raising the value bar and documenting what you do.

Sales Tips That Work

Here are a few tips that really work!After you’ve presented your proposal, overcome all the objections, and discussed possible solutions, an easy and friendly way to help the prospect make the deal is to ask, “Where do we go from here?” This question is non-threatening and will prompt the prospect.State a time limit when you make an appointment with a prospect. If you tell the prospect that you only need 15 minutes of their time, be sure to leave after 12 minutes unless the prospect invites you to stay longer.
Practice

The Right Client

You know who they are. They pay on time. They aren’t a hassle. You don’t want to hide under the desk when they call. They pay you for your time and don’t squabble about the fee (most of the time). They are called “A” clients.Do you know who your “A” clients are? Are you providing them with superior service and adding that little “extra” that will keep them coming back to you (for computer services, consulting and every other product you sell)? If you aren’t throwing added-value services their direction, it may be because you spend too much time with marginal clients.

Permission Marketing

As a marketing director, I’ve been practicing “permission marketing” for years now. I just didn’t have a name for it. Enter Seth Godin, author of Permission Marketing and vice president of direct marketing for Yahoo!. While I thought I was being polite, what I was really doing was asking my prospects for permission to market to them (I’ve never been the pushy type).
Technology

Why Web Sites Fail

Now that your firm has an online presence, you may think it’s time to sit back and watch the prospects roll in. Think again. Your marketing efforts are more important than ever.According to the Ecom Advisors, the biggest problem with web sites is unrealistic expectations. They say that businesses think if they spend $100, they will earn $150 the next quarter. They caution owners that it doesn’t work that way; you may not see results for 12 to 24 months.The reason sites fail is equally as simple.

Objects In The Mirror Are Closer Than They Seem

We all know that sales success depends on keeping our prospecting funnel filled with qualified buyers. Sometimes, we get in our own way, or at least our call reluctance does. Our call reluctance is a result of our perceptions. It is like our car mirrors on the passenger side which give us a distorted view of the road. We need the distortion to improve our driving visibility. Unlike the mirror, call reluctance doesn’t help our selling. We can deal with call reluctance by changing our perception and our behavior.

Marketing Tips – Are you talking benefits?

When you present your proposal (and you need to present your proposal as opposed to faxing or couriering it so you can overcome objections), is your prospect talking price? Yes? Then you need to start talking benefits. The benefit of working with your firm over another firm is why your prospect wants to work with you. Did you ask him or her what was important when you made the initial contact call? Do you know why he/she is interviewing accounting firms?
Practice Management

The Product We Sell

If someone asked you what you sell, what would you say? Oil, chemicals, whatever product you sell, right? We really sell something so much bigger than the products and services our customers pay us for. In small dollar sales the customer is less conscious of value. With larger sales, the product and the resulting relationship with the buyer are harder to separate…so you are selling yourself.What makes up a relationship that adds value to your products? Our credibility, reliability, and anticipation of customer needs are the keys to a successful relationship.
Practice Management

Banner Ads are Five Years Old: Are They Already Dead?

Believe it or not, the banner ad you see on many popular Web sites is five years old ... but have the candles all blown out on this advertising medium, once touted as the newest way to reach mass audiences?Experts at the eretailing '99, a conference sponsored by shop.org, believe there are better ways to reach consumers and steer traffic to the Web.

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