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Using Your Basic Competitive Advantages to Increase Enrollment | Part 3

If you missed the first part of this blog, you can find it here. And the second part here.

Step Three: Articulate Your BCAs in Benefit Statements

Mastering the enrollment conversion technique of stating benefits, versus features, is what I call “the difference between telling and selling”. Features tell, benefits sell. So Step Three in using your Basic Competitive Advantages to increase enrollment is to learn to articulate your BCAs in good benefit statements.

Remember, these statements must tell your prospects what they get, or what your BCA means to them; not just what you have to offer or what the teachers and children do at your school. You want to communicate in such a way that you create a word picture in your prospect’s mind of their child in your school, causing them to feel a sense of peace of mind in the knowledge that they can get what they seek from your center.

For example, if you say, “The lead teacher is this preschool room has been here for seven years,” you have only stated a feature, or fact, about your classroom. Even if this feature is a BCA, you have not yet communicated it to your prospect as a meaningful benefit to them. Your statement is all about you and does not include them. Nothing in this statement creates a word picture in the prospect’s mind of their child being in this classroom.

If instead, you say, “The lead teacher in this preschool room has been here for seven years, so Aiden will have a great deal of stability and will get learning opportunities based on all her experience as a teacher of quality early care and education programs,” you have made a good benefit statement. Why? Because you not only presented your BCA (long-term teacher), you expressed what that means to Aiden (the benefits of this BCA). The last phrase is the part that makes this a good benefit statement and will help this parent visualize Aiden enrolled in your school.

You may argue that your enrollment prospects are smart people and will know what your center’s BCAs mean to them without your articulating what they get. Chances are, they will not. Even if they do, confirming that assumption in their minds by making good benefit statements will help them feel more confident that your center is the right place for their child.

Try these three techniques for articulating good benefit statements:

State the feature and add a phrase beginning with the word, “so…,” to answer, “So what does that mean to the prospect or child?” The example above illustrates this technique.
Start with the word, “Because,” then add the feature and finish your statement with the benefit phrase. “Because we open at 6:30 in the morning, it will be convenient for you to drop off Matteo on your way to work.”Which part of this sentence put the prospect in the word picture and tells them what they get? You’re right! The final part.
Start your statement with the benefit phrase, “From us, you (or child’s name) will get…” Then state the feature. “From us, Emma will get a wide variety of learning experiences and fun activities in her after school program.” There is a huge difference in prospect perception between this good benefit statement and stating this BCA as a feature only, such as, “We offer a wide variety of learning experiences and fun activities in our after school program.” The benefit statement describes what Emma gets from you. The feature statement tells only what you offer.

Articulating your BCAs in good benefit statements is all in how you say it. Go back to the benefits you developed in Step Two. Then practice using use one or more of the techniques above to state the benefits when you describe each BCA, making sure your statement answers, “So what…does this mean to the prospect?”

When you have determined your Basic Competitive Advantages, defined the benefits of each BCA, and mastered articulating them in good benefit statements, you are well on your way to converting more prospect calls and visits into enrollments. Your potential customers will more easily see what separates you from your competition. They will clearly understand how your BCAs can address their needs and concerns. And they will appreciate your knowledgeable approach to helping them make the best choice for their child and their family. And you will never again think about “So what…?” in the same way.

# # #
Julie Wassom is a trainer and consultant who has helped thousands of directors and managers build significant enrollment in their early care and education programs. An internationally recognized authority on marketing child care services, Julie is president of The Julian Group, Inc., an experienced marketing firm specializing in the early care and education industry. She is the author of The Enrollment Building Success Library of training resources, and the free online newsletter, Wassom’s Child Care Marketing Wisdom.

Julie Wassom
“The Speaker Whose Message Means Business”
Marketing and Sales Speaker/Consultant/Author
Call me: 303-693-2306
Fax me: 303-617-6422
E-me: julie@juliewassom.com
See me: www.juliewassom.com

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Watch What You Say – Terms That Make Parents Wince and Wonder

Did you know that some of the terms you use regularly on the job can make your parents and prospects cringe? For example, you understand perfectly well that when you refer to the term, “day care”, you are talking about your program filled with the most current and professional approaches to early childhood education and development. However, when you take off your director’s hat and think in the parent’s perspective, that term, “day care”, has a custodial connotation. Even though many parents use this term themselves, if we in the early care and education industry want to professionalize the impression we give our prospects, customers, and referral sources, you need to be very aware of exactly what you say and it will be perceived by each one of those target audiences.
Here are some terms to take out of your vocabulary when talking with parents and referral sources, and the replacement terms that will make them feel good about you, rather than wince and wonder.

Term to nix: day care. I love what a professor in the ECE Department of Pacific Oaks College once said, “The day will take care of itself. We take care of children.”

Replacements: child care, early childhood development, early care and education

What are you looking for in the early care and education experience you want for Ethan?

Term to nix: tour. We generally tour places that are much more institutional and less personal, such as museums. Child care centers are warm, welcoming places parents and their children visit to consider enrolling for daily attendance.

Replacement: visit

Could you and Hanna come in for a center visit on Tuesday or is Wednesday better?

Term to nix: slot. A parent sees their child crammed into a slot – not a good image.

Replacements: space, place, position

We have only two spaces left in this toddler room.

Terms to nix: fee, cost, price

Replacements: investment, tuition

The tuition for our full time preschool program is $….

Term to nix: discount

Replacement: savings

For your second child, you will receive a 10% savings on tuition.

Term to nix: but. This term can make you appear defensive, especially when you use it in a response to an
objection or complaint.

Replacement: however

I know it can sound expensive. However, here you’ll find the kind of program that will insure that Alisha is better prepared for kindergarten….

Term to nix: caregiver

Replacements: teacher, educator, faculty

Our teachers take pride in making sure your child develops a love for learning.

Terms to nix: special needs child, at risk child. These are children first, who are differently abled or have unique needs. You would not say, Alex is an allergy child; rather, Alex is a child with allergies.

Replacements: a child with special needs, unique challenges, special abilities

Little Kevin is a child with some unique challenges and special abilities.

Practice using these replacement terms when you talk to parents and other referral sources in your community, and watch their impression of your professionalism rise right before your eyes!

Send me one term you have replaced to promote more professionalism.

Julie Wassom
“The Speaker Whose Message Means Business”
Marketing and Sales Speaker/Consultant/Author
Call me: 303-693-2306
Fax me: 303-617-6422
E-me: julie@juliewassom.com
See me: www.juliewassom.com

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Using Your Basic Competitive Advantages to Increase Enrollment | Part 2

If you missed the first part of this blog, you can find it here.

Step Two: Define the Benefits of Your BCAs

Even though you now know what your key features, or BCA’s are, you must convert them into benefits. Why? Because prospects do not purchase merely what you have to offer. They buy what those features will DO for their child and their family. So for each feature you now have on your BCAs list, you want to define what that feature MEANS to the prospective parent and child. What do they get from your features? This is the actual benefit. When you communicate your BCAs in benefit statements, it motivates your prospects to see what the true value of your services means to them compared to other choices. Sales professionals have long said, “People buy benefits, not features.”

So how do you define the benefits of your BCAs? First, use the list of BCA’s you have developed. For each BCA, determine what that feature means to the prospect. What will they get from you by having the feature you offer. For example, if one of your BCAs is long-tenured teachers, three benefits the child gets from that are stability, the teacher’s knowledge of child development, and the higher level of early education a teacher with experience can deliver. List two or three benefits for each of your BCAs.

If this is hard to master, or you find you are still listing features (What you offer versus what they get), a tip I give managers when working directly with them on this topic is to ask yourself, “So what?”

For example, let’s say one of your unique features is the use of the Reggio Emilia approach, which you describe as an educational system commonly recognized as one of the best programs for young children worldwide. Since you are the only one in your area using this philosophy, you have identified it as one of your BCAs.  To define the benefits of this BCA, you might ask yourself, “So what does our using this approach MEAN to the child?”

The answer to that question will give you the benefits. For instance, your answer might be that the child centered philosophy within the Reggio approach means the children use exploration and research to learn how to be creative and good problem solvers, which are skills you know your prospects want them to learn. That is what the child and family will GET, therefore, this is one benefit of your having the Reggio approach as a BCA.

So once you know the benefits for each of your Basic Competitive Advantages, how do you communicate them in statements that will present meaningful benefits to your prospects? This brings us to Step Three.

Julie Wassom
“The Speaker Whose Message Means Business”
Marketing and Sales Speaker/Consultant/Author
Call me: 303-693-2306
Fax me: 303-617-6422
E-me: julie@juliewassom.com
See me: www.juliewassom.com

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Using Your Basic Competitive Advantages to Increase Enrollment | Part 1

In our industry filled with acronyms like DAP and FTE, I created one called BCA. “What do you mean by BCA?” you say. Your BCAs are your Basic Competitive Advantages – those unique features of your early care and education program and services that make you stand apart from your competitors. In general sales terms, these are called USPs, or unique selling propositions. Your BCAs should distinguish you from the other choices your enrollment prospects have available to them.

When I ask directors , “What are your Basic Competitive Advantages?”, many respond with features such as a quality program, a state-of-the-art facility, caring staff, brain-researched curriculum, good parent communication, long-tenured teachers, etc. Yet when I ask, “How do these compare to your competitors?” many cannot tell me other than to smile and say, “We hope they are better.” Hope is not a marketing strategy.

Many child care choices can seem similar when parents see ads, receive mailings, and investigate companies online. Learning what truly differentiates you from those other competitive options – and then how to communicate your BCAs in a manner that is meaningful to your prospects – can mean more enrollment conversions and higher capacity utilization in your center.

There are three steps that will help you use your Basic Competitive Advantages to increase enrollment.

Step One:   Determine your specific BCAs
Step Two:   Define the benefits of your BCAs
Step Three: Articulate your BCAs in benefit statements

Step One:  Determine Your Basic Competitive Advantages

It’s important to get a realistic view of what differentiates you from other child care options your enrollment prospects might investigate and select to visit. There are three ways you can do this. I recommend doing all three.

Make a list of your key features. With your management team and select staff,  first list all the features of your center, curriculum, staff,  philosophy, and service delivery that you feel helps you deliver the kind of quality you profess. Expect their responses to give you the more general assumptions, such as quality program, long hours of operation, convenience, caring staff, etc.

Then take this another step by going through each feature listed and really dig for what makes each of these features truly special or unique to you. For example, if your team tells you one key feature is your quality program, ask, “What about our program makes it high quality?” or “What does our program give children that they may not get elsewhere?” This will help your team focus on what really differentiates you. Perhaps they will say you are the only accredited center within your draw radius, or your lead teachers all have a high level of professional development, or you believe in children learning through play, or your curriculum is nature-based. Note these responses by each originally-stated feature, because you are now getting to the heart of what your actual BCAs are.

Do competitive shops. How can you know what your enrollment prospects are seeing, hearing, and experiencing at other centers if you have not done so yourself? Shop three aspects of each competitor – website, telephone inquiry, and center visit. Website and telephone inquiry can be anonymous. However, I recommend you schedule competitive center visits as a professional colleague versus visiting as a mystery shopper. To do this, you either schedule the visit or just drop in, introducing yourself as the director of your center and location, requesting a brief tour of their center, and inviting them to schedule a time to visit yours.

Shop no fewer than three and no more than five competitive programs in your area. Your goal for these shops is to determine your center’s BCAs. Here is a great technique for doing that, but it requires that you take off your center director hat and approach these shops from the parent’s perspective. Remember, a key strategy for successful enrollment building is to think in the prospect’s perspective. Their perceptions, not yours, influence their buying decisions.  So, are you ready for the technique? For each shop – website, telephone, or center visit – look for three features that center appears to provide as well as you do, from the parent’s perspective. Then note three things each one does not do as well as you do. And last, look for three things each competitive center does better than you currently do, at least from the parent’s perspective.

Be brutally honest. Here’s an example in each category for competitive shops. Same as you… A competitive center may have a website with many of the same features as yours. Not done as well as you… When you call them in the role of a prospective enrollee, you are not asked to schedule a specific time to come in for a center visit, nor are you asked for permission to follow up with you. (You consistently do both on each qualified inquiry call.) Could be perceived as better than you… When you stop by to visit the competitive center, you notice the entry is very clean, welcoming, and has a table with coffee and neatly-arranged materials about the center or of interest to parents. (Your entry could use some sprucing up.) When your shops are complete, review your lists of competitive features and use them to analyze what will be perceived as your BCAs by the enrollment prospects investigating all of you.

Conduct a post-visit survey.  By emailing a carefully crafted, three-to-five question survey to those prospects who have visited your center, you can learn what they noticed to be the primary differences between you and other centers they visited. Which specific centers they visited in addition to yours is not as important as what they perceived about yours. Make sure your survey reaches these enrollment prospects within the first few days after their center visit. Also make it easy to complete and submit. Constant Contact and Survey Monkey offer easy-to-use surveys. Even though it is unlikely all of the surveys will be returned, if you structure the survey questions and attached message well, you will get enough responses to see patterns of what your prospects view as your BCAs.

Take the information you gathered from each of these efforts and compile it. What will emerge are the key features of your center’s program and services that prospects perceive to be your Basic Competitive Advantages.

Merely knowing your BCAs is an important first step. However, it is not enough to assure they will positively impact your conversions and retention.  Taking your knowledge of features two more steps can make a world of difference in the influence these BCAs have on maximizing your enrollment. Here’s where we move to Step Two… Be sure to subscribe to the blog, my Facebook or Twitter to be informed about when Part 2 is released!

Julie Wassom
“The Speaker Whose Message Means Business”
Marketing and Sales Speaker/Consultant/Author
Call me: 303-693-2306
Fax me: 303-617-6422
E-me: julie@juliewassom.com
See me: www.juliewassom.com

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The Exceptional Customer Service Difference

Jessica gets it. The value of customer service, that is. This young coffee shop barista made my day recently when I rushed into a local bookstore to pick up a copy of a trade journal. When I could not find it on the rack, I saw her in an aisle and asked her to help me. She immediately put down what she was doing and came to my aid. When she could not find the magazine in the usual spot, she asked if I’d like for her to check on it for me. As we walked toward the computer which was behind the counter of the in-store coffee shop adjacent to the magazine racks, she asked if I would like to get one of their blackberry cream lattes. I told her “No, thank you,” but as she looked up the magazine, I noticed she had placed a table tent on the counter showing an irresistible photo of this special coffee drink of the week. Though she found there were no more issues of the magazine in the store, she sold me the latte. While she made it, she asked if I would like a snack with it, perhaps one of their fresh blueberry scones. I told her, “No, thank you, but you will sell lots more scones if you ask everyone that.” Every time Jennifer asked me anything, she looked right at me and smiled. She asked for my store perks card, and when I gave it to her, she began to use my name, as printed on the card. She returned the card to me wrapped in a small folder that offered me my eighth cup of joe free. When my coffee drink was ready, she announced my name and the coffee drink as if I were royalty for whom she had a special gift. She thanked me for taking the time to come in that day. I took a sip with foam on my upper lip and thought, “Got Customer Service”!

So what customer service did Jessica provide that was so out of the ordinary? Lots! Here are three of the things she did that set her apart:

  • She went out of her way to help the customer. She could have just glanced at the periodicals rack and said, “Sorry, we don’t seem to have that magazine.” But she offered to look it up even though I doubt that is on the job description of coffee shop service rep.
  • She asked and asked again. In five short minutes, she asked me all kinds of questions. Because of it, she sold me on her product, her service, and her store.
  • She personalized our interaction with friendly professionalism. Once she learned my name, she used it in a friendly, courteous manner. With a genuine smile, she thanked me for taking my time to be there, as if I were doing her a favor.

Your customers are your strongest source of referrals and repeat business. What are you doing to go the extra mile for them? Are you initiating periodic contact, inviting them to special events, providing a stream of information that communicates not only valuable resources to them, but supports your positioning as the helpful, knowledgeable resource they can trust? Are you asking what your customers need, and – perhaps more important – what they expect that they are not yet receiving? How – and how often – are you asking for referrals? What programs do you have in place to reward your customers for referrals, recognize them for their loyalty, and reassure them that they are getting the maximum value possible? Are you treating your customers like you really appreciate them and what they mean to your business? Once a week, ask yourself, “What have I done lately to show my customers how much I value them?”

I walked out of the bookstore without the magazine, but smiling and glad Jessica had passed through my day. Will I return? Absolutely, and especially when Jessica is there. Will I tell all sorts of others about this exceptional customer service experience? I just did.

Julie Wassom
“The Speaker Whose Message Means Business”
Marketing and Sales Speaker/Consultant/Author
Call me: 303-693-2306
Fax me: 303-617-6422
E-me: julie@juliewassom.com
See me: www.juliewassom.com

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Selling Versus Telling

I recently read a paragraph in an L.L. Bean catalogue that said, “You’ll always get friendly, knowledgeable help whether you call us to order, visit us on-line or stop by one of our stores. You’ll find the products you want in stock… You’ll get personal attention…”

I thought, “They know the difference!!!”

What difference?” you ask.

The difference between “Selling” and “Telling.”

The difference between selling and telling is presenting benefits versus features when you are communicating marketing and sales messages to your prospectscustomers, and other target audiences.

A feature is merely a fact about your center, your early care and education services, or your staff. It tells the prospect what you have. A benefit tells your prospect what the feature will do for them, or what they get.

The next time you start to make feature statements, “We offer a curriculum based on the latest research on brain development,” or “Miss Susie has been here for 8 years,” test the difference by asking yourself, “So what?” You must answer “So what does that mean to the prospect?” for it to be a benefit statement.

Instead, say something like, “Our preschool curriculum is based upon the latest brain research, so Timmy will experience learning activities that are not only fun, but are helping him maximize his own abilities.” Or say, “The learning activities Timmy will participate in here in this class are based upon the latest brain development research, and will help him develop to more of his potential.” These latter statements change the way the prospects hear what you say and the word picture in their mind is of their own child in your center getting the best possible education. They sell rather than tell. And therein lies the difference.

In a benefit statement, your prospect sees themselves taking the action (Timmy is learning…) versus you taking the action (We have a curriculum..). It’s a small adjustment in how you say it that makes a BIG difference to your prospects. People buy benefits, not features.

Whether you are talking to prospects on the phone or in person; the more you talk in benefits versusfeatures, the more those prospects will picture themselves doing business with you and glad made the decision to act on your recommendation. That helps creates an loyal customer and cost-effective referral source.

When you speak in benefits, you will be selling, not just telling. Then, someday one of your new customers might say, “They know the difference!”

Best wishes and happy marketing!

P.S. For additional tips that make a difference, listen to my audio program, “Basic Techniques for Securing Enrollment.” A synopsis of this and other learning programs in The Enrollment Building Success Library are available by calling us at 1-800-876-0260 or by visiting www.juliewassom.com.

Julie Wassom
“The Speaker Whose Message Means Business”
Marketing and Sales Speaker/Consultant/Author
Call me: 303-693-2306
Fax me: 303-617-6422
E-me: julie@juliewassom.com
See me: www.juliewassom.com

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Benefits, Follow-Up, Fortune in the Follow-Up, Guest Book, Julie Wassom, Prospects, Wassom’s Marketing Wisdom

You’ve had prospects that came to an event. At the event, you talked with these prospects about what you offer and the benefits they would receive. Maybe they even signed your guest book. After the event, you sent these prospects a letter and some additional information. However, you have not heard anything in reply. You are wondering what to do next without feeling intrusive like the dreaded sales calls you receive from telemarketers. Sound familiar?

Many people believe that if prospects were truly interested , they would call you after this initial follow-up action, and that contacting them again might be perceived as being pushy. Here are some thoughts to give you a different perspective on initiating follow-up, and tips to make it well received.

First, remember these prospects came to the event to learn, to make connections, to seek help in making a good buying decision. They NEED your help in doing so. One way to help them beyond this initial conversation is to include a personal note with the materials you send after the event. In the note, you indicate when you will be calling them to follow-up – sometime within seven to ten days later. Don’t even expect them to call you back.

For instance, you could say, “I will give you a call next Tuesday, to answer any questions you have and to offer my help as you consider this decision.” This sets up a prospect expectation, and gives you the chance to begin to build credibility and trust.

Then call them exactly on the day you said you would. On the call, you could say, “I’m calling you as I said I would to answer your questions on the information I sent you last week following the (event name). What questions came up since then as you read that material? (Answer the questions). What other help can I give you at this stage of your search?”

Do not say, “Do you have any questions?” This question elicits a singular response that may not give you any details about what your prospects needs most from you at this point. Also, when you talk, ask your prospect to schedule a personal visit – or another one if they have already been there.

If you get voice mail, use nearly the same dialogue, except say exact times when you are available for a call back. I often request that if people miss me when they call back, they leave times on my voice mail when it is best for me to return their call. I also refer them to my website for interim information.

Remember, prospects who have inquired or come to an event are interested, they need your expertise, your attention, and your guidance as they make this important decision. If you follow-up well, you will not be perceived as the pesky telemarketer, but the helpful, knowledgeable resource your prospect can trust. And that leads to sales.

Julie Wassom
“The Speaker Whose Message Means Business”
Marketing and Sales Speaker/Consultant/Author
Call me: 303-693-2306
Fax me: 303-617-6422
E-me: julie@juliewassom.com
See me: www.juliewassom.com

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Harvard Business Review’s Email Rules

Spotted this in ExchangeEveryDay (exchangeeveryday@ccie.com ), and thought it worth passing along.

In a letter to the editor in Harvard Business Review OnPoint (hbr.org), Rita Gunther McGrath shared “Rita’s Golden Rules for E-mail”:

  • Meaningful subject lines that tell the reader what to expect.
  • No e-mail should be longer than one screen of information.
  • One subject per e-mail.  When I’ve dealt with an item, I want to delete it.  I can’t do that if your e-mail contains 10 action items.
  • E-mail is the wrong place for emotional outbursts.
  • E-mail is the wrong place for communications of a personal nature.
  • Assume that everything you put in an e-mail could end up on the front page of the New York Times and be accordingly discreet.
  • Because you sent it doesn’t mean I got it.  Because I got it doesn’t mean I read it.  Because I read it doesn’t mean I understood it.  Because I understood it doesn’t mean I agree with you.
  • Don’t send an e-mail when a short phone call would do a better job.

Julie Wassom
“The Speaker Whose Message Means Business”
Marketing and Sales Speaker/Consultant/Author
Call me: 303-693-2306
Fax me: 303-617-6422
E-me: julie@juliewassom.com
See me: www.juliewassom.com

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Why Small Businesses MUST Use Social Media

This is a great article to help you understand the importance of social media as a marketing tool in today’s business environment, and how to maximize the value of it for your desired level of involvement. It is written by Andrew Jones, the business partner who handles all my social media, including the database management and internet marketing involved. For more information on social media, visithttp://www.juliewassom.com/social%20media.htm , or on Andrew and his firm, New Media Fluent, click on the link below.

It seems like a no brainer right, the match up of Social Media and Small Business? After all, social media has an almost non-existent barrier to entry, the majority of its marketing tools are free of charge, and it potential for brand and sales expansions are almost limitless!

Yet, you would be surprised just how many small businesses out there are not yet involved with social media. Why? I find the two most common reasons are due to lack of information, and some basic fears. We’ll start with fears:

Fears

  1. My clients are not on the social media.
  2. I won’t be able to control what is being said about me online
  3. I don’t have the time to keep it up.

To rebut #1- Oh yes they most certainly are! My company New Media Fluent handles social media marketing for a multitude of different businesses- from large corporations, to one person shops. One of the small markets that I have dealt with is in the Alpaca industry. Yes, you probably don’t even know what an Alpaca is, which further proves my point (they look like very furry Llama’s by the way and their fur is used to make extremely soft material for blankets, sweaters, scarves, etc.). However, as small of a niche as the Alpaca industry is, on Facebook alone there are 8,680 people who have Alpaca listed on their profile. Your customers are definitely out there, and they are on social media!

#2- Lack of control is an entirely valid fear. What can be said about your company, your services, and your products online can be enough to keep a small business owner awake at night. But here it is plain and simple; Your company is going to be talked about whether you partake or not! At least utilizing social media, you can not only see what is being said about you, but you can partake in the conversation and hopefully change any negative word of mouth into positive.

#3- Also a completely valid fear. Time is a major issue for most people when it comes to social media marketing. And I will not lie to you, one of the worst things you can do for your company is starting social media and then stopping. However, not getting involved at all is the only thing worse. There are three options here;
1. Set aside time every day, early in the morning, over your lunch break, after work whenever to go over your social media. By allotting a block of time, you won’t venture aimlessly through the social mediaverse.
2. Hire a company like New Media Fluent to take over your social media marketing for you. Learning how toproperly utilize social media marketing can be an extremely daunting and time consuming task. It is quite feasible to mess around on social media for 6 months and be no farther than you are today because you simply don’t know what you are doing.
3. Hire someone to train you to effectively, and time efficiently operate your social media so you do not find yourself wasting your most precious resource as a business owner- your time. (New Media Fluent does offer a training service as well for the record.)

Facts

  • According to Nielsen Statistics, 2/3 of the entire world population is using social media… that’s amazing when you stop and think about it.
  • Especially for older businesses; in order to remain relevant in the business world today and to reach your new customers, you have to be where they are… which is online. 70% of people trust peer review over conventional advertisements, so it’s time to start getting friendly with your customers. The easiest way to do this is via social media.
  • Your competitors are doing it already… and if they aren’t, then they will be soon, so you may as well start the bandwagon and be the first one so it doesn’t look like you are just copying others success. Being first, will make it much easier for you to become the “go-to” person for information in your industry. When people depend on you for information, they will depend on you for other things as well such as your services and products.
  • Whether B2C and choosing to market on Facebook where there are (as of June 16, 2010) 400 million active users! Or B2B and opting to go the avenue of LinkedIn with over 75 million business professionals, average income of $109k, and where 50% of the users are major decision makers in their company. There is a social media opportunity for whatever your need is.
  • You will not find a less expensive way to grow your business base, and improve customer relations than social media.

I recently read an article in USA Today which investigated two small businesses that have been using social media to improve their company:
Southern Jewl’s saw a 60% increase in her business in the past 6 months since beginning her social media marketing.

The second example was Over The Moon Ribbons- A wholesale ribbon retailer. They boosted their tiny business into earning profits of $1,000 per month using social media… those are RIBBONS I’m talking about people!

Social Media Marketing works, and it is no longer an option, it is a necessity. Find an option that works for you, and jump onboard- before the ship leaves without you.

If you find yourself wanting to investigate the option of hiring a company to take over your social media, or to train you how to operate it effectively and efficiently yourself, please do not hesitate to contact me;Andrew@NewMediaFluent.com.

I hope you have a wonderful day!

Julie Wassom
“The Speaker Whose Message Means Business”
Marketing and Sales Speaker/Consultant/Author
Call me: 303-693-2306
Fax me: 303-617-6422
E-me: julie@juliewassom.com
See me: www.juliewassom.com

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The Sales Payoff in Multiple Closing Attempts

In a colleague’s newsletter, I recently read about an article in Selling Power Magazine that featured a Notre Dame University survey of purchasing agents at some of the nation’s largest companies. They asked about theclosing attempts (asking for the business) made by the sales representatives who called on them. Here’s what they found: 46% of the sales reps asked for the order once then quit. 24% asked twice then gave up. 14% asked for the order three times. 12% asked four times.

Yet, the same survey showed that 60% of the orders came after the fourth attempt. Imagine that! It took as many as five closing attempts before a sale was made. This shows the need for persistence when calling on a prospect. But the surprising thing to me is that less than 50% of the sales reps asked for the order even once!

No matter what you are selling, ASKING multiple times is not only necessary to secure the sale, it often makes it easier for the prospect to buy!

Begin asking questions when your prospect inquires, to help you know what they need or want and when they are ready to buy. Continue asking agreement questions as you present the benefits of doing business with you, to know whether you are on the right track and to unearth objections to buying from you. When you know they are interested or ready to buy, ASK them to buy from you!

One type of closing question that is comfortable to ask and easy for your prospect to answer is called analternate choice closing question. For example, you might say, Would you like Ben to start today or would next Monday be better for you?

Each time you follow-up with a prospect, help guide them closer to buying from you, then ASK them to do so. Those who keep asking their prospects to buy with their prospects’ needs in mind are those who sell more!

You must ASK or you are not closing. How can you expect to get any customers if you never even ask? That’s what selling is all about – asking the prospect to buy.

Julie Wassom
“The Speaker Whose Message Means Business”
Marketing and Sales Speaker/Consultant/Author
Call me: 303-693-2306
Fax me: 303-617-6422
E-me: julie@juliewassom.com
See me: www.juliewassom.com