We all want to lose weight, save money, and eat better, but maybe instead of trying to take big steps in our personal life–and, let’s face it, we rarely keep up with those resolutions, anyway–maybe we should do small things to help our small businesses. Here are eight small business resolutions you should be sure you can stick to this year.
Stop pitching everything in sight. Take the time to apply quality, open-ended Socratic questioning techniques to uncover your clients’ needs and pair solutions to them. Yes, this is Sales 101, but, just how we’d need refreshers in chemistry, geometry and even phys. ed, we all could use a refresher in Sales. Over the course of the year, you start to make your sales such a routine that you copy-paste emails to clients and keep giving the same rusty reasons why they should buy your product. By forgetting your stale features and asking more questions, your clients will help you better sell your product or service’s benefits.
Use LinkedIn to see who you know that know people you should know. Connect with them, build a rapport, eventually get their email and phone. Ask them about their needs. Then send them a business proposal in the shape of a tailored solution. Proposal software is the key for you to make professional business proposals and sales quotes easily. It allows you to finally know right away when your prospect has opened your contract and how long they’ve looked at each section, enabling you to have provide insightful followup. With software like Quote Roller, it takes about 15 minutes to send out a client-specific proposal, think of how many more deals you can close!
The new year is a perfect time to reflect on the previous year. And it’s a perfect time to ask your clients for their opinions. Send out a survey, filled with multiple-choice questions, but that leave an option for them to answer in their own words. You’ll gain invaluable insight that you can then use in next year’s marketing, sales and customer service plans. Both Survey Monkey and Google Forms have solid free options.
All customer communications should be organized by the way it will help your clients. So you have a new product or service you are offering? So what. Now, how can that help solve a problem for the majority of your clients, that’s what they want to hear about. Make sure your marketing and sales is well-researched, taking every chance you get to learn more from your clients.
We’re all bootstrapping teams with more work than we know what to do with. But a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush and your business relies on your current clients more than your prospects. Never put off responding to a client. If you are busy or don’t know the answer to a client’s question, tell them that. They will appreciate the honesty and know that you are thinking of them as long as you respond to them briefly, promising (and eventually following up with) a more in-depth response later. (Plus, if you don’t respond right away, they may angrily go to Facebook or Twitter.)
For that matter, excessively show your gratitude. I loathe “Best Wishes” and “Kind Regards,” or, God forbid, the senseless BW, KR, TY and other sentiment-less acronyms. Yes, have an automatic email signature and even include your first name in that, but please don’t have an automatic, insincere closure. And goodness, especially don’t just thank for follows and retweets on Twitter.
A great way to show thanks to your client, especially in B2B, is to help them out. Go the extra mile by doing articles on them, by retweeting their stuff, and doing anything else to promote their business too. It costs nothing, they will appreciate it, it presents you to the world as a company that takes loyalty seriously, and, bonus, your clients are likely to reciprocate.
No I don’t mean doing butt clenches at your desk (though that’s not a bad idea,) but resolve to stay active. Spark friendly competition among your colleagues for who can make the most cold calls, set up the most client visits, or anything else that fosters new business. Create a leaderboard at your office, give away a free lunch a month, or whatever it takes to get even your shier employees picking up that phone.
Think about participating in the One Percent campaign where you donate one-percent of your profits to helping the environment or get involved in your community by participating in a local fundraiser like a walk. Not only is it giving back, it’s good press for your business (imagine your whole team in matching tees) and it’s a fun, team-bonding exercise.
So, what are your team’s new year’s resolutions for 2014? Here’s Business-Software.com’s.