Tuesday, February 23, 2016
My son is a thirty one year old lawyer who recently purchased his first home in London. When I asked him what his buying process was, he looked at me with incredulity and replied, ‘Dad, I did a google search, those on the first page I checked out on my Iphone and after some research chose 3 properties to look at and bought one.’
I then asked him how he bought his insurance and he gave the same reply. This amazed me as I have spent a large part of my career selling insurance and never thought that I would see the day when insurance (and so many other products and services) was bought rather than sold.
The new generation has grown up with technology and interact, socialise, work and make buying decisions in a totally different way to the older generation. Many of those younger generation are your clients or could be working for you.
As a sales & marketing speaker, I present all over the world on managing disruptive change, social media and sales.
In practical terms, the biggest changes that are disrupting business are:
Social – social change incorporates a number of areas, age, religion, culture, language and lifestyle
Generational – Millennials are generally well educated, skilled in technology, self-confident, able to multi task and have a social mind-set. They think, work and act very differently and are motivated by very different things than the older generation.
Globalization – the world has become a global marketplace and international business and travel are now way easier and more accessible than ever before. As India and China emerge as global powers, outsourcing, product development and services are being outsourced by companies globally.
Sales – the traditional sales model has changed moved from relationship selling, to Solution, Advantage Benefit selling, then to Process selling. With the internet, a lot of that has now changed, as clients now know what they want, their price range and where to find it.
They will do their homework and research, qualify your company and generate the enquiry. If you have little visibility on the internet and social media and don’t understand what makes your company unique and different, you might be losing business.
Technology – Technology and the internet has changed the way we think, act and do business.
With that in mind we have to ask ourselves the questions:
· How will potential clients find us and how can we prove our expertise and differentiate ourselves from our competitors
· For existing clients, which social media channels are they using and how can we connect and interact with them
- · What technologies can we use to make client’s lives easier?
- · What technologies can we use to make employees lives easier?
- · Can we outsource some of these tasks?
- · What are the most efficient, low cost marketing resources & tools?
- · How can we create that ‘sticky factor’ that will ensure that we keep our clients
Fortunately by embracing technology, we can meet many of these challenges:
1 - How will potential clients find us and how can we prove our expertise and differentiate ourselves from our competitors?
Search engine optimization has become an expensive art, but by understanding Google and what it looks for, you can have your marketing teams use strategies to get your company onto the first page of the search.
The first thing to understand is that you need to be part of the Google family in all marketing endeavours, in particular YouTube, Blogger and Google plus.
The starting point is to find a phrase that describes what potential clients would type into a Google search if they were looking for your type of business. My phrase is ‘sales technology speaker’, type it into a Google search and see the results.
Once you have that phrase, ensure that it is on every page of your website, in the keyword section of your blogs (with Blogger) and in the title, description and keywords of your videos with YouTube. Remember, that Google is all about fresh new content and the more you create the easier it will be to rank with Google.
New contents also helps you and your organization to stand out as thought leaders and industry experts.
2 - For existing clients, which social media channels are they using and how can we connect and interact with them?
Different clients hang out at different social media channels. You need to consider asking your clients which channels they are using and what kind of content and how often they would like to be updated.
Consider also that many clients will be ‘qualifying’ you before that first contact and examining your website and company and personal LinkedIn profiles.
LinkedIn has matured and you need to ensure that your personal profile is up to date. Include articles and video demonstrating your expertise and skills and take advantage of using ‘showcase’ pages for your business.
3 - What technologies can we use to make client’s lives easier?
Webinars – Clients rarely have the time any more to attend drawn out seminars, they would rather interact from their own offices in their own time.
One of my favourite resources for webinars is Shindig (www.shindig.com). It is visual, interactive and perfect for webinars, focus groups, social meetups, staff and client briefings, media events and online training.
Google Hangouts – https://hangouts.google.com - This is a free resource from Google where you can have an online conference with up to 20 people (free) and for any for any complicated or technical explanations, each person can take control of the other’s computer to explain and demonstrate what is required.
Video – We now live in a visual society and people absorb 70% more content if in a video rather than written. There are so many ways you and your organisation can use video. These include:
- · Internal staff training
- · Frequently asked questions
- · Meet the team
- · Expert interviews
- · Recruitment
- · Video testimonials
- · Technical explanations
- · Corporate presentation of your company
4 - What technologies can we use to make employees lives easier?
There are now so many tool and apps and some of my favourites include:
Evernote – this is one of the better known apps for note taking and organizing information
Microsoft OneNote – lets you take notes and share them across all your devices
Trello – a great app for tracking and visualizing the progress of your ideas
Google Docs – great for collaborating with other in the team, easy to share files and multiple people can edit the same file
Basecamp – excellent for managing projects, groups and client work
5 - Can we outsource some of these tasks?
For many small businesses that don’t have the capacity for a full time marketing or social media person, outsourcing is the most cost effective method of only paying for what is needed.
Some of my favourite outsource sites are:
Elance – www.elance.com - Access over 2 million skilled freelancers from around the world. Find rated web developers, mobile programmers, designers, writers, translators, marketing professional and plenty more.
Some years ago I paid $500 to Elance to produce a database of 4,000 CEOs in the Middle East who I could market my services to.
The database provided me the mailing list and my email campaign resulted in being featured on Dubai’s top radio show and working one to one with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi in the Royal Palace, and incredible experience.
I have also had Elance produce websites for me at a fraction of the cost of anywhere else.
Freelancer, Guru and ODesk are similar sites and the great advantage is that your fee remains in escrow until the task is completed and you are completely satisfied
Fiverr – www.fiverr.com this is definitely one of my favourites for getting small projects done for $5, I must warn you the site is addictive.
99Designs – www.99designs.com – excellent for website and logo design at reasonable rates
6 - What are the most efficient, low cost marketing resources & tools?
There are excellent tools available and those I find most effective are:
Camtasia – https://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.html - A powerful, yet easy-to-use screen recorder, Camtasia helps you create more professional videos without having to be a video professional.
Snagit - https://www.techsmith.com/snagit.html - possibly the best image capture and editor on the market.
Headline Creator – www.simpleheadlines.com - a simple tool that enables you to create eye catching headlines for emails, newsletters and articles.
7 - How can we create that ‘sticky factor’ that will ensure that we keep our clients
Clients now have access and choice of suppliers like never before, so you need to do things that will make you and your company stand out, prove your expertise and most importantly that you care. Here are some ideas:
Stay in touch with a newsletter – here are some ideas for content:
- Jot down eight questions your clients have asked you in the past
- Answer each one in a short article, as there may be other clients who have the same questions in mind
- If you have been to any industry conferences or seminars where you have picked up some helpful hints, share these with your readers
- Offer your top tips
- Recommend books or resources
Use Video Email – connect with your clients in a way that will have them opening and reading your emails immediately. My favourite resource for this is Eyejot – www.eyejot.com
Keep in touch and provide outstanding service – no matter how much technology you use, always remember that you are in a people business and if your service is superior, you will easily create ‘sticky clients’.
Frank Furness is an international speaker & author who has presented in 58 countries. He is a specialist in sales & marketing, technology, social media and goal setting and how they work in tandem to produce great results for organizations.
He has helped organisations understand how to manage disruptive change and what they should be doing to embrace it.
Apart from being a partner in an insurance brokerage in London, Frank consults and works in-house with companies and marketing teams around the globe.
For more information on Frank, check out his website at www.frankfurness.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org