Your mother was right. You shouldn’t try to be something you’re not. This is an important lesson for small businesses, as well.
Many small businesses believe that in order to be successful, they need to do things like much bigger companies. However, the companies they try to emulate usually have much deeper pockets.

When it comes to successfully marketing your small business the key is to accentuate the fact that you are a small business. By capitalizing on this fact you will be much more successful than if you try to be something you are not!

What follows are five ways to make the most of your status as a small business!

  1. Dive into direct mail. With more and more big companies using email marketing, consumers’ regular mailboxes aren’t as crowded as in the past. This means your direct mail campaign will stand out more. Further, research shows that direct mail has a higher response rate than email marketing. Combine your direct mail with email marketing and your response rate will increase even more.
  2. Implement a customer loyalty program. Customer loyalty programs are easy to set up and are a great way to track and reward your customers. Further, since retaining current customers is more cost effective than finding new ones, these programs pay off in more ways than one.
  3. Purchase Facebook ads. Facebook allows you to target your ads to reach an audience based on a variety of demographics, including age, gender, interests or geographic location. These ads are a cost-effective way to get your small business in front of those most likely to do business with you.
  4. Engage the media. Establish a relationship with your local media outlets so that when reporters are looking to do a story on holiday shopping, for example, they turn to you. You also can send a press release to media outlets to announce new product launches or other events that the public may be interested in.
  5. Engage in complementary advertising. Joint promotional campaigns allow you to partner with another business to boost sales for both of you. For instance, if you own a pet boarding business you could partner with a local pet shop and each of your businesses could give away coupons for the other’s products or services. The possibilities are endless and by adding another business to your marketing mix your reach can be dramatically increased!

Instead of trying to compete with national companies that have resources you can’t match, take advantage of your status as a home-grown and local business. After all, this is something much bigger companies will never be able to do as well as you!

Telemarketing is a part of many businesses. Most companies make outbound calls, receive inbound calls and hope to close the sale with these. Unfortunately, most callsthat result in left messages do not get returned. Koka Sexton, Director of Social Strategy at InsideView, is one of the most recognized social experts in the technology industry, said, “92% of executives you try to contact will not return your phone call. You should already know why, unless you have an amazing reason for them to listen to your message, they will delete it in the first 5 seconds. If you don’t give them a compelling reason to spend the time to call you back then you get forgotten about.” Make good uses of your telemarketing time and your phone call return rate should improve.
  • Use your contacts: You work hard to build your business connections. Whether you use telemarketing to reach your contacts’ firms or not, ask them to introduce you or provide a reference to the company you do make outbound calls to. Again, Sexton has some proof-positive information regarding this: “84% of the people you try to connect with leveraging an existing connection will respond.”
  • Know who you make your outbound calls to: Whoever your call reaches is a person, not just another phone number. Check their names and look them up on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Google +. You’ll find valuable information that will provide good insights on how to best to approach them.
  • Give a head’s up: Send a simple introductory email to your prospects. Sexton uses this as an example: “I’d like to introduce myself. I’ve noticed your company has been actively growing the size of your widget factory and I’d like t know if I can help with anything.” Let your telemarketing prospect know you’ll be calling within a few days, and be sure to follow up.
  • Talk up your prospect: After you’ve done your homework and you know a bit about your prospect, structure the first call around them. Focus the outbound call on them and their company, sliding a sales pitch in covertly. Focusing on your lead keeps them engaged and willing to listen to more. Use this time to share how your services/products have helped companies similar to theirs. Make your telemarketing call relevant to them.
Telemarketing is effective, but most times leaving a message does not result in an inbound call back. Use these tips to make the most out of your telemarketing and see your callback rates rise.

You have multiple ways of selling your products. A common one is telemarketing. Whether you’re working on insurance leads, new business owner leads or new homeowner leads, telemarketing is a tool used to get information to potential clients, start a dialogue with new leads and close the deal with interested parties. You may be utilizing telemarketing frequently, but using these 5 tips will improve the experience.

  1. Remember you place the call. Use good manners. When you dial up an insurance lead or new homeowner, ask if they have a few minutes to talk. There’s nothing worse than dealing with a sales person who assumes you have nothing else going on. If your target is busy, ask her for a better time to call back. Give her some control and she’ll likely reciprocate good manners.
  2. Teach your telemarketing team to talk like they are NOT reading from a script. Business owners need to understand their customers are not robots, nor are their sales teams. They shouldn’t sound automated or scripted. Conversation should ebb and flow. Though telemarketing scripts are sometimes necessary, teach your sales team to ask questions, listen and note the responses, establish a dialogue with their lead and know enough about the product to go off script when necessary. Business owners should give telemarketing staff constant up-training, reference tools and on-going development opportunities to ensure they are confident and capable of going off script when necessary.
  3. With insurance leads, female business owner leads or any other leads you call on, remember to utilize your best sales executive when a big opportunity presents itself on the call. Your experienced sales executive knows how to close the sale. Use this as teaching time for newer employees. Have a newer sales executive shadow your best sales executive to learn how to nurture leads without being to promotional, reach out to warm leads to build/maintain relationships and close on sales without being rude, too aggressive or presumptuous.
  4. When telemarketing, never get off a call without asking for referrals, up-selling and asking if there’s anything else you can do for your prospect. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know. By accepting the single sale and not requesting referrals, you’re leaving money on the table with each phone call. Business owners should monitor their telemarketers to ensure each call contains requests for referrals, up-selling and offers to do more.
  5. Listen to your customer. If they buy from you, you likely sold them “yourself” and not your product. Consumers buy from people they enjoy, trust and respect. Telemarketers will close more deals if they listen to the customer and sell them what they need and want rather than pushing the item that’s for sale. Turn the call into a “How can I help you” instead of a “Here is my product and this is why it is so good.”

Using insurance leads, private home leads or any other leads list guarantees you have numbers to call, but if you don’t have well-trained, competent telemarketers, your success ratio won’t be where you need it. Follow these tips to ensure good, solid leads lead to good, solid telemarketing sales.