Unfortunately, the internet is not Cheers and everybody, to be certain, does not know your name.
It’s a daunting, seemingly impossible task to build a network of leads and relationships with potential clients without the proper tools. You know that you have something to sell that is worth buying, but how are you supposed to get it into the hands of customers who are sure to appreciate it (and hopefully buy it again and again…)? (Guest post)
One of the biggest mistakes I see new sales teams making is focusing so much of their efforts on squeezing the leads they already have. As if selling the same thing to the same group of people again and again is going to net your company the money to grow and prosper.
Which isn’t to say that maintaining and strengthening relationships with your current roster of clients is a waste of time. Keeping up with current customers is essential, and repeat sales are going to be your bread and butter. But keeping house isn’t enough. Getting new people into the door is what’s ultimately going to mean success or failure.
So where do you start, especially for a team with a small (or nonexistent!) budget?
Thankfully, there are a number of free services and strategies that you can utilize to build your brand and get your voice heard.
- Social Media
This one is obvious, but it can be intimidating with all the choices out there. The big ones are Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Vine. The decision then becomes where your audience is most likely to respond. If you’re selling anything related to fashion, food, or art, you might want to pay special attention to Instagram and Pinterest.
If your product is a professional development program, or a sales/marketing tool or service, you might want to focus on Google+ and LinkedIn.
For most brands and sales professionals, however, simply focusing on Twitter and Facebook is more than enough. It’s often beneficial to pay for sponsored content as it usually doesn’t cost a lot, but it gets your name in front of that many more people.
- Guest Blogging
If you haven’t done so already, start a blog for your product. This not only makes your company more ‘visible’ to search engines, but it also gives both your current and potential customers a chance to get to know you outside of ‘Salesperson Mode’.
Once you have a few posts that you’re proud of, it’s time to get them out there. Create lists of bloggers who inspire you. Get to know them through social media and then ask if perhaps you could post a guest post on their blog. If you go about it correctly – building a real relationship, offering something that their blog readers would enjoy, and refraining from spam – you now have access to their audience of readers (and that many more potential customers).
- Conferences and Networking
If you haven’t already, sign up with your chamber of commerce, and also get in touch with local clubs and organizations that may potentially have a need for your product. Take the time to travel to conferences and festivals, too. Also jump at the chance to be a public speaker on behalf of your industry, and never turn down a request for an interview.
- Well-Planned PR
Sometimes a little crazy can go a long way towards getting attention and sales.
For example, take the team behind the recent Muppets movie. They had cupcakes with Kermit, Miss Piggy, and Gonzo on them delivered to influential Twitter personalities to celebrate the release of their film. The cupcakes made the recipients’ day (and their Twitter feeds), and it created a stir. Buzz about the movie (their “product”) got big, resulting in more movie tickets being sold.
You can do the same thing. Learn how to write a press release, and let the world know about your most recent publicity tactics.
Using these tips can take you from no-name to the center of attention in just a short amount of time. If you have any other free or very inexpensive ways to increase your audience, let us know in the comments!
About the author: Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases, offers free whitepapers and resources for small businesses, sales teams, and anyone who has something to sell.