Tag Archives: sales

Affiliates can be your Valued Sales Team

Affiliates can be your Valued Sales Team
By Talmar Anderson

On the rise with ecommerce and online products are the opportunities to grow your sales team. Or on the flip side, a way to increase your income through recommending people, brands and products for compensation. Do either of these options really sound like a bad idea for your business? This incentive creates questions and worry for both the entrepreneur considering this “cut” into their profits and the referral source. I do believe that this can work for a variety of industries so let’s talk a little bit about affiliations!

As a potential commissioned referral source, a common argument stems from the concern that you do not want to be perceived as solely incentivized by being paid to recommend something or someone.  That it could appear as self-serving as opposed to prioritizing the needs of your contact. I get it. I too walked the line for many years and turned down offers of compensation from great providers and vendors that I 100% believed in and to whom I continually referred. I wanted to be able to point to my referrals and say that I was only recommending them as a great solution for prospects.

After several years and establishing a reputation for referring the best possible referrals for each individual need, I realized that I was literally leaving money on the table.  Yep. I was going to refer those people anyway. Yes, I could genuinely and honestly look prospects in the eye to assure them that my expertise, education and experience led to any recommendation. Not the check book! I do have a few affiliates (from tools like Lead Pages or ConvertKit to trusted business owners that can offer a benefit to my clients and audience like The Lucky Bitch) that I recommend when it fits.

Now what if you are thinking of paying affiliates or commissions to other referral sources? I know, they SHOULD be referring to you because you are amazing and no one can solve your clients issues as well. However, sometimes the marketing campaign to be in front of your referral sources can get lost in your company’s outreach to new lead generation or current prospects.  It is true…there are only so many hours in a day.

By monetizing those referrals, you allow the source to be incentivized and rewarded for sales.  The first time that income comes back to them, your company WILL be top of mind.

What about doing the numbers to decide?  In our example, we are offering a 25% affiliate fee on a $100 product. Imagine you could average 10 sales a month of your $100 product through your own company. Boom! $1,000

Now imagine if one of your best strategic partners could get you in front of another 10 people but maybe only 3 bought through them.  $300 – $75 = $225 income for YOUR company.  This came off someone else’s marketing and sales efforts (AND expense!). Your referral source was already planning on being in front of this market.  They qualified the need for your solution and completed the sale for you! This effort exposed your company and services to a wider market and grew your revenue by 22% thus expanding your credibility AND cash flow!

Plus, it is TOTALLY FUN to cut a check to those referral sources with a big, fat THANK YOU written on it.  The referral source is excited because they just made another $75 off conversations they were going to be having anyway.

Could you operate profitably and scale your business by having a stronger pool of pre-qualified prospects? While this example is based off a client’s experience, consider that we developed a specific and strategic operational plan to support the intake, payment tracking and communications with these referral sources. For success, this is will require creating another operational layer. However, with the right affiliates you gain access to new markets and qualified sales.  This can be especially beneficial during new launches or product offerings.

It may not be right for every company but in the on-demand market of small businesses, sales forces are much smaller than the larger corporations had access to in the past.  Is it worth it to your company’s bottom line to find a way to reward those strategic partners that are already working on creating income themselves?  It is something to consider when looking for new ways to grow your revenues.

Now GO! Grow!

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The Difference is in the Listen

The Difference is in the Listen
By Talmar Anderson

I thoroughly enjoyed myself last week at a speaking event with a group of amazing business professionals.  They enjoyed themselves too though I suspect you would be surprised if I told you the topic was “Sales Strategies”. Don’t be! Sales can be fun and exciting. Remember, all the planning and operational structure can’t deliver profits without selling to your clients. If business owners have a common spot they can get tripped up on, it is in their sales process. Ohhhhhh…you heard me.  Your company will significantly benefit if you can develop an actual process in how you sell your products and services. Good sales process is all built around “the listen”.

Listening is when sales turns away from the pushing and coercive talking that feels like constant noise and reminds of us of slick, pushy car buying experiences. That “yuck” that people carry in their head when they even hear the word sell. It comes from the sales person that was so busy trying to get their point across that they forgot to check in with the prospect’s needs…much less if they had a pulse. So when you look at your sales process make sure you highlight the listen. The listen is often the portion of your sales process that is the qualifying.

When you qualify you want to hear what problem they have right now.  This requires you to stop talking about how awesome your company is within your industry.  You have to stop talking about how the price is amazing or for a limited time. You have to stop trying to sell your product or service. Just shhhhhhh. You want to listen for words and challenges that you KNOW can benefit from your company’s solution.

If you can talk less and listen more, you will more easily identify a qualified prospect.  The one that has a problem right now.  The one that is ready to buy your solution. The prospect that can truly benefit from what your company sells. And IF you have taken the time to listen, you won’t have to cram in all the details you know about your company.  You will know exactly which details are important to this prospect.  You will understand what the pain point is for the prospect and why they are talking to you about it today. Now you can simply offer your company’s solutions by highlighting how it can HELP their specific situation.

The difference is in the listen.  If we let the prospect tell us their problems and what they want for a solution, then we can help.  If we met every lead and potential person with a barrage of words that may or may not be pertinent to their situation NOW, we are far more likely to offend, be drowned out by their thoughts of escaping our pitch or frustrate ourselves with another “no” because we weren’t even talking to the right target market.

So when you are designing your sales process (not to be confused with your marketing…give me a call if you want to discuss this specific pain point!), please make sure that qualifying is a first piece to closing your sales. Starting your process this way will grow your closing ratio and build a client base that sees you as a solution more than a collector.

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Follow UP! Yes. You Need to Plan for This Too!

By Talmar Anderson

Does this happen to you all the time?  You are at networking event.  You meet a new person.  While talking briefly they ask what you do.

You: I am a website developer.

Them: OH! Do you do redesign?

You: Of course.  Our clients are usually well established and looking to communicate through easy to use and engaging websites so we love those projects.

Them: Great.  Let me grab my checkbook.  Who do I write this out to?

Ohhhhh…this ISN’T how you find your clients? Of course not.  You find them through consistent follow up! Business converts new contacts by being in front of them and making it easy to hire your company. Business owners need to use opportunities to further understand prospects needs and ensure they have the education to know how your company can help resolve or fill a need. You need to be easily accessible and easy to engage.

In honor of making it easy for your prospects, I will make it easy today….3 pieces that need to be a regular part of your sales follow up process. You know networking is one of the tippy top points of sales…right? We network to meet new contacts and grow qualified leads. Not to CLOSE clients but to meet new people that can start down the path of your sales funnel.

3 Sales Follow Up Steps that WILL give you more clients

  1. Calendar follow up time directly after EVERY networking event! – This simple step is the distinguisher for successful sales within a company. Every time you accept and place a seminar, conference, speaking engagement onto your calendar you MUST also place on the calendar follow up time. If not your calendar, your assistant’s or your business development teams. Make sure your first follow up is personal, timely AND asks for permission to add the new contact to your mailing list.
  2. ADD them as a contact NOW – this should be part of the scheduled follow up time. Don’t start an always growing shoe box of contacts to be added in when you “have some time”. New clients are what it is about my friend! Get them correctly categorized and all their details up to date in your contact management system. Regularly using your automated and specific marketing efforts is an easy way to be continually educating your prospects and front of mind when that new contact has a need.
  3. Follow up ….again. – As a regular part of your process you need to keep working through contacting your prospects. Reach out by telephone to say hello. Or you could choose a topical discussion relevant to your industry to share.  This does not have to be a long call.  You will be shocked at how often you will hear “I have been meaning to call you…” which launches the opportunity to land that client.

BONUS Tip!  While on the phone do one more thing for me….ASK for what you want!  “Is there any way I can help your business right now?” “Do you know anyone that may enjoy my products?” …find something that you can ask.  People do need to hear the words!

Too often, my clients will hear feedback that they do not tell prospects enough of the “obvious” details to convert a client. Tell them how to start the process. Tell them how to get a hold of you if they want to start working with you.  Tell them why a prospect should work with YOUR company. Tell them different stories about successes you have had for other clients. Tell them you want their business.

If you have any questions on sales or other operational & management topics, email me at TAnderson@TalmarItUp.com. I would love to work with you and your business! (see what I did there???….teehee)

Now GO! Grow!

“It depends” is Not a Price but It Is a Killer!

By Talmar Anderson

Pricing is a challenging part of any business.  Making sure you are taking advantage of market trends, value delivered and demand from clients are all items we want to consider when setting a price.  And oh yeah, covering cost of goods, operations and…dare I say it? Make a profit!  A common issue that my service industry clients struggle with is how to have a set price for client consideration. “It depends” is a killer.  I promise that while start to expound on the different possibilities you are losing the listener.  “It depends” is to open ended and scares the buyer.  They worry that there will be no clear end on the investment.  Hourly pricing is the easiest because it is quantifiable and therefore most service professionals comfortable justifying the price when it comes to invoicing or proposals.  I would challenge this and suggest that you consider packaging to bring in more qualified prospects and improve your sales conversion ratio (how many leads turn into paying clients).

Packaging is the process of setting an inclusive price with a set expectation of delivery.  If you can find a component of your business deliverables and create an easy to understand package then your clients will be able to more quickly understand your offering and self-qualify.

A package should have:

  • a defined price,
  • details of exactly what is included (and depending on your industry possibly what is NOT included) and
  • a declaration of how exactly a client can add to the package as well as any price considerations.

As an example we can look at a website development company.  As the owner, you can take a backward look and case study review of your past clients and projects. Let’s say that you have decided that your company can create a quality product, with consideration of your costs and expense, of a delivered website for $5,000.  This beginning package may not be at your highest profit margin but is easily duplicated and is still a good step one for your entry level clients.

Once defined you can put that Package “out there” – on your marketing materials & website or as a rolling-off-of-the-tongue starting price point that is easily quotable in any conversation, amazing things will happen.  Several great benefits will occur:

  • Prospects can easily self-qualify.
  • Referral sources can make sure that leads will be more consistent with your potential target market.
  • Confidence and talking points come more easily to any team member that is part of a conversation representing your company.

EVERYONE can know that your projects start at $5,000.

This process can be replicated for other services or price points within your company. Consider packages based on average sales and even the high-end projects can be packaged.  If the website development company can also offer a full year of brand management, website development and content generation, this package can be spelled out to ensure you are in the running for those types of jobs.  Don’t worry about missing out.

The key to packaging is to not worry about what you COULD do.  Could the website designer create a logo for someone?  Sure….but let’s be known for websites if that is our core offering.  As you get in front of qualified prospects and existing clients you can expand on their needs and educate on your company’s other skill sets.  Packages will get you in the door but absolutely DO NOT have to be all that you offer.  Getting rid of “it depends” for fear of missing out will strengthen your credibility and allow clients to more easily connect.