Technology Makes Launching a Professional Sales Effort Easier Than Ever Before
Even If the “Sales Team” Is Just You…
If you operate with a very small staff or run the business by yourself (whether by choice or because of a limited budget), you can still launch an effective sales effort and convert prospects to buyers.
Technology makes it possible.
I’d like to introduce you to some “cool tools” for salespeople (even if the sales team is just you). We’ve used many of these tools for years in my company with great conversion rates. Others are newer technology you should become familiar with.
Here’s the short list:
Online Schedulers Eliminate the Need for Human Appointment-Setters And Reduce the Number of Prospects Lost to “Phone Tag”
One of the newer technologies that’s a tremendous benefit to salespeople is an online scheduler that lets prospective customers choose their own appointment time from a pre-programmed calendar. You send prospects to this online scheduler function either directly from a sales letter at your website — or from offline marketing activities such as your newspaper ads, business cards, flyers and brochures.
You don’t need to even go through the hassle of adding a page to your website, since the scheduler “resides” at the scheduler service’s website. Simply provide a link such as www.yourwebsite.com/get-information-by-phone or www.yourwebsite.com/book-an-appointment — with that URL re-directing to the scheduler.
You determine which days and times you want to make available for sales calls. And when prospects book an appointment, that time is removed from the available inventory. Also, their name and information is never seen by other people booking appointments.
One benefit you’ll really appreciate is that prospects book appointment times themselves — one more action-step that qualifies them as a motivated buyer. Additionally, you’ll no longer need human appointment-setters since the software does it all…24 hours a day. And far fewer prospects are lost to “phone tag” since the system sends an email reminder to the prospect to be ready for your call at the appointed time.
Of importance to solo entrepreneurs is that it also makes your small business seem bigger to prospective buyers.
Best of all, online scheduler services can be had for as little as $30 per month.
The service we like is TimeTrade.com. (I don’t get anything for recommending it, I just like the system and know it has worked well for us.)
Voice Broadcasting Lets You Call Hundreds of Prospects With a Sales Message, Yet Never Pick Up the Phone
I’ve written before about voice broadcasting and its benefits for solo entrepreneurs. For about 11¢ per name, you can record a one-minute (or longer) sales message, then broadcast that in your own voice to thousands of customer or prospect phone numbers. The key is to record a message in your natural speaking voice—as if you had just dialed that prospect personally. This provides a high-touch effect with very low-touch technology. Just the fact that you called is very powerful because so few small businesses (perhaps not even your competitors) use this technology effectively.
One additional benefit of voice broadcasting for a sales effort is that it lets you focus on callbacks and incoming responses — rather than on outbound dialing and missed connections.
Coupled with the online scheduler above, you could even walk into your office every Monday morning with a full calendar of already-booked appointments, making sales calls easier than ever. Simply ask prospects in your voice-broadcast message to visit your online scheduler…
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An Answering Service With Pre-Scripted Screens Is an Easy, Pay-As-You-Go Option for Sales and Customer Service Help
With seemingly everyone using auto-attendant phone systems these days, one comment you could start getting from customers and prospects is how delighted they are when they hear a real human voice after dialing your company’s main phone number. Even international customers, who call you in the middle of the night, could have their call answered by a real person How? By using a professional “call center” who answers the phone and forwards calls to your various departments or salespeople. Even though your individual staff may be unavailable, a caller will always get someone on the phone initially to route their call and otherwise help them.
Better yet, many call centers or answering services will also handle the sales function for you. I’ve written dozens of scripted sales dialogs for clients over the years — which are then programmed to appear on the operator’s computer screen once a telephone inquiry comes in on a specific telephone number.
You can even have the call center take orders for you, email product information to prospects, answer simple questions, take registrations for preview workshops, book appointments for you to call back prospects (using the online scheduler or your online calendar) — and so much more. Most importantly, you only pay a per-minute rate (or a low, flat monthly fee) whenever the call center answers the phone for you. No full-time or part-time wages to pay or other costs to bear.
Email Autoresponders Can Become Your “Digital Sales Force”
I recently wrote a free report about the importance of turning your website into an Internet selling system. When you offer a compelling giveaway item on your homepage, then require website visitors to opt-in with their name and email address to get it — that data can be collected in the background into a database for future marketing. One easy way to make sales from this opt-in list is to write a series of emails that can be automatically sent from the contact database software. These are known as “autoresponder” emails and most shopping cart and contact databases feature this important autoresponder function.
(You can read more about how to use these important digital sales messages, by downloading my latest free report on the subject. Click here.)
Autoresponders let you send a series of regular messages to prospects who’ve opted-in — messages that provide more information, familiarize them with your company or your professional expertise, show them how their life will change once they buy something from you, and generally create a stronger bond with them as a potential customer.
The best autoresponder sequences provide valuable information — and lots of it — before they ask the recipient to buy. In fact, I recommend that you write four or five autoresponder messages before mentioning that you have something for sale. “Pitching” people right away is off-putting and will likely cause visitors to unsubscribe from your list (known as “opting out”). If you begin selling right away, the recipient doesn’t have time to get to know you or appreciate you as a resource.
Think about your own situation. When was the last time you bought something expensive? You probably did lots of research. Perhaps you consulted with the business owner many times before deciding. It’s possible you waited for the right time to buy. Visitors to your website are no different.
An effective autoresponder series includes a minimum of 8-15 messages. Many shopping carts let you program in unlimited autoresponder messages.
Emails, voice broadcasting, online schedulers… a well thought-out sales function is an important part of any business — whether you are running things solo or your company employs hundreds of people.
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Establishing these 7 major systems — and, importantly, a professional sales function — is easier than ever now, thanks to technology. I encourage you to take time this month to focus on making sales and filling the prospect pipeline using voice broadcasting, an online scheduler, and email autoresponders.