Monthly Archives: June 2016

Demo That Will Land the Sale

Launching a tech startup? If you really want to impress your prospects, you should consider offering them a product demonstration.

Demos allow consumers to test-drive your product or service. According to Robert Fassold, co-founder of Ultra-Practical Solutions, a small-business software provider, they are “absolutely necessary” in the following situations:

  • The product is somewhat unique and many potential customers may not understand what it is from the description.
  • There is a “wow” factor that can be demonstrated only in person.
  • The product may be bundled with additional products and services, and the demo provides the opportunity to cross-sell.

A demo is much like a consultation, said Alex Haimann, head of business development at Less Annoying CRM. Essentially, you are offering your prospect insights on your product and showing them its exclusive benefits.

If you’re setting up demos with potential customers, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you close the deal. [See Related Story: 4 Keys to a Successful Sales Pitch] 1. Start with a conversation Asking sales prospects about their business, interests and needs allows you to reflect on your product and connect with the potential buyer, Haimann said. For example, you may ask the prospects why they want to use your product, what experience they have with similar products, and whether or not your product is in their budget. Fassold agreed, noting that budget should be a priority topic, so you don’t end up wasting time on a demo if the customer has no intention of buying. “Get to the budget discussion as early as possible, or use your product’s affordability as a way of defeating the budget argument,” he said. During your initial conversation, focus on ways that your product can cater to the needs of that specific customer. “Make a note of terminology they use and anything that could help shape the demo,” Haimann said. “Don’t be afraid of asking follow-up questions — you wouldn’t want to miss a key factor or condition in what your prospect wants!” 2. Customize your demo to the client Be sure to customize the product demonstration for each prospect to ensure the customer has an exceptional experience, Haimann said.  “You have to do something that will explicitly help the customer use your product and help them have an ‘aha’ moment,” he said. “For us, that means customizing their account so that they don’t have to worry about doing it themselves and they can really see what their business looks like in the CRM. For your business, simply do something your customer might need help with. If your company offers website creation services, start customizing your prospect’s new site. If you host an online marketplace, set up a vendor slot.” “Don’t settle into a demo pattern, or you’ll stop listening to what your prospect really wants,” Haimann added. Additionally, make sure you clear up any questions or concerns regarding your product.  “If the customer is not getting it, then turn the session into a discovery and find out what the customer is truly looking for, and give them some good tips to where to find it,” said Fassold. “Selling a customer something they don’t understand creates a help-desk nightmare scenario and ultimately bad press.” 3. Prepare for technical difficulties Demos are not always successful, Fassold said, so it is crucial to test your systems and always have a backup plan. “When it comes to demos, Murphy’s Law is always lurking: whatever can go wrong, will go wrong,” he said. “For example, I used my brother as a test subject for my demo, which required him to a download an internet plug-in. This process worked flawlessly on all the other tests we had run. However, we could not get his PC to run the plug-in. The lesson I learned was always have a backup, even if it is a presentation of the screens without the live demo.” 4. End with an open invitation Much like the start of the demo, you’ll want to end with questions to ensure you get beneficial feedback. Clear up any concerns and offer follow-ups a few weeks later to keep the lines of communication open. “Take notes on everything that transpired and close with a summary of the next steps or action items,” Fassold told Business News Daily. “Talk among the other members of your demo team to get consensus on viability of the sales and the customer’s primary objections. Then, follow-up [with the prospect] immediately with a thank-you note, including how to buy the product if they’re interested.” Need help with your sales pitch? Check out Business News Daily’s guide here.

Focus on Timing

images-44Are you planning email marketing initiatives for the holiday season? Research shows that when done right, email campaigns can pay off mightily. A past study from the Direct Marketing Association found email marketing has an average return on investment of $38 for every $1 spent. The numbers could easily go up, if businesses got more customers to actually open their emails.

New research from GetResponse shows that email marketing messages are opened just 22 percent of the time by consumers. “When used correctly, email is an essential tool in a salesperson’s arsenal to build these bonds that drive business growth,” JP Werlin, CEO and founder of sales and account management CRM provider PipelineDeals, said in a statement

PipelineDeals believes that small business can improve their email marketing efforts by focusing on three key areas: Time of day: Making sure your emails hit a reader’s inbox at the right time is critical to whether or not your message gets read. Unfortunately, there isn’t one magic time for everyone. Research from PipelineDeals found that the timing window varies depending on the target audience of the email campaign.

For example, software companies see better open rates in the afternoon, while businesses in the marketing and advertising industries have better open rates in the morning. “Ignore the general wisdom of when you should send out email and actually start testing when you send out email messages,” the study’s authors wrote. “If you’re just getting started sending email, look for industry specific data.” Template use: While email templates might make it easier to create your campaigns, they often don’t provide the results businesses are looking for. PipelineDeals found that emails sent using a template perform approximately 30 percent worse than those that aren’t based on a generic structure.

Media Placements Are Key

Planning a public relations campaign? Don’t expect to put your business on the map with a single media placement. New research finds that repeated exposure is the key to gaining brand recognition and engagement. Bospar, a boutique PR firm, polled 1,010 American adults to determine how likely people are to visit a tech company’s website, based on media coverage.

The research found that winning over consumers requires the rollout of a strategic, sustained PR program over time, said Curtis Sparrer, a principal of Bospar.  The results were broken down by demographics, including gender, age and income.

“In this noisy media landscape, we discovered that there were certain early-adopter demographics that marketers can expect to visit a company’s web or mobile site immediately after seeing the first stories post,” Sparrer said. Here’s what Bospar discovered about American consumers’ habits when they view tech company media placements: Men are more likely than women to visit a company’s website. A majority of American men will visit a company’s site after seeing media placements, with 1 in 5 saying that they will check out a site the very first time they see an article. Sixteen percent will go to a site after seeing two to five media placements, and 1 in 4 after seeing a story more than five times.

In contrast, 41 percent of American women say that if they keep seeing a tech company in the media, they will eventually visit the company’s site, but only 13 percent will visit after seeing one media placement, and 11 percent will visit the site after two to five placements. “I’m not surprised about the different reactions between men and women when it comes to seeing technology companies in the news,” Ebba Blitz, CEO of Alertsec, said in a statement. “Men have been long encouraged to embrace technology and to be early adopters.

However, with a new emphasis on women in tech, I hope to see that trend change by the time my daughters enter the workforce.”

Marketplace Apps for Selling Your Stuff

It may not be a full-time business, but selling your gently used clothes, books, furniture and other items is a great way to make extra cash and minimize clutter. Peer-to-peer marketplace sites such as eBay and Craigslist are the go-to digital destinations for selling unwanted items, but they’re far from the only options. New apps, like the recently announced Facebook Marketplace, are popping up all the time, widening your potential base of buyers. If you’re looking to empty your closets (and fill your wallet), here are 10 great apps to help you sell your stuff. 1. Saily The idea behind Saily is that it shouldn’t be hard to find cool stuff for ridiculously cheap prices. You can sign up with your Facebook account or by email to start buying and selling. This app is fairly new, so the company is not yet accepting large items such as televisions and furniture. However, you can buy and sell clothes, jewelry, sports memorabilia and other similar items. The app lets you take a picture of what you want to sell, add a description and price, and list it for sale. Saily on iTunes

2. 5miles 5miles is a free app that focuses on local selling. Whether you want to sell your car or rent out a room in your house, you can list it for free here. The app asks to access your location to allow for easy posting and to make sure you are selling within a certain distance for easy delivery or pickup of your sold items. The inter-app messaging system keeps your personal information safe, and buyers and sellers are rated to avoid scams. 5miles on iTunes / Google Play 3. Listia Listia is another local buying and selling app where you gain credits and badges for hitting certain milestones. For instance, if you sign up through Facebook, you get 4,000 credits to use on the app. The app features daily offers, such as trading in your cellphone for a certain number of credits. You can then use those credits to buy other things on the app. DVDs, clothes and toys, among many other items, can be listed on Listia, and you also get credits when your items are purchased. Listia on iTunes / Google Play 4. Zupa! Zupa! is a community-powered shopping app that allows users to sell anything that fits into a box. Posting is free, and there are no listing fees, so all the money you make from selling items is yours to keep. What is different about this app is, once you make a sale, Zupa! sends you a shipping label. All you have to do is print it out and put it in the mail. Zupa! on iTunes