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Want More Sales? Get A Testimonial Or Two!

As we have previously said, getting recommendations is a great way to grow your reputation for all serious referral marketers and business networkers using todays’s tools such as LinkedIn to act as a store of the social proof relating to your skills – SEE HERE.  This is an especially good tactic when you have done someone one a good turn or given some great business advice in a 121.

Sometimes the testimonials don’t come in neat LinkedIn sized bundles which people can read at their leisure but arrive via Twitter or face-to-face say in a referral marketing group meeting.

How do you capitalise on these testimonials to build up your credibility, get your network talking about you in a positive way behind your back to their friends and thus enhance your sales etc etc Here is a couple of ideas that we have been mulling over the last few days to do just that:

1. Copy those hand-written testimonials out into electronic bits and bytes:

Turn this:

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Into this:

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These can be shared on your personal LinkedIn profile updates, LinkedIn Company Page (where the ability to leave testimonials was removed early this year), Facebook fan pages etc etc

2. Use those Twitter testimonials you might get to go:

Turn This:

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Into This:

Conspicuous_CBM__Overview___LinkedIn 2

Again these can be shared on your personal LinkedIn profile updates, LinkedIn Company Page (where the ability to leave testimonials was removed early this year), Facebook fan pages etc etc

Now for a further great tip from our good friend Craig Finch from Webgineering.  Take all these testimonials and endorsements for skills you have received from LinkedIn contacts plus those above, and cut and paste them into a nice document with some additional marketing blurb on what you do that you can send to clients, prospective clients, and prospect business partners.  Why? Because none of your competitors will be doing, it looks organised and professional, provides reassuring social proof, and might open new avenues of discussion that might have been overlooked by both parties!  Try this for yourself and see how you get along with it.

A few minutes worth of effort to really help grow your reputation and your sales – that is a fabulous ROI on your time!

Watch out for more quick reputation building tips in forthcoming weeks.

If you have any great ideas on how to generate, capture or share testimonials then please share them through the comments or LinkedIn.

If you want to discuss your referral marketing, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with me via LinkedIn.

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Want A Great Accountant? Alexander Accountancy Recommended For All Burton Businesses!

Occasionally we like to share with you the names of top local experts we recommend that you get to know.

Today is David Alexander, Director of top local accountants Alexander Accountancy based in Burton-upon-Trent.  As qualified accountants ourselves, we know great accountants when we see them that really help their clients and deserve that title of the “Trusted Business Advisor”.

Here is their corporate presentation we had pleasure in seeing recently which will tell you how they really do “add value” to their clients!

 

If you want to talk to David on saving you money and how their great team can help your business by “Adding Value” then please contact him via email info@alexander-accountancy.co.uk or call him on 01283 743851.

Watch out for more top tips on all sorts of subjects from local experts and our personal recommendation and endorsement of the ones you should be doing business with today!

If you know of any great Staffordshire or West Midlands experts we can share with the world – let me know via LinkedIn

If you want to discuss your referral marketing, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with me via LinkedIn.

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Want More Sales? Be Open For Business!

New Business are being created all the time. There are nearly 5M businesses registered in the UK of which 4.9M are official SMEs, and 4.4M have less than 25 employees.

For the 4.4M this means the owner(s) is the face of the business & responsible for sales. No one else is!

Whilst it’s true for all businesses that sales are their lifeblood, the issue is magnified for SMEs. Unless the OWNER is perceived to be open for business, sales will be lost each and every time to their competitors.

Their enough challenges for new or small businesses – why add to your stresses by being seen as unresponsive and unreliable by your peers and colleagues!

We have compiled from our experiences in the attached presentation from the last 5 years of obvious signs that people are not in business, and the simple things they can do to look polished, professional, organised and open for business. Look for the 9 signs of being open for business and check if you fail any of them….

Sign 1 – Do you answer your phone 
and return phone calls?
Sign 2 – Answer e-mails
Sign 3 – Be on time for meetings… any Meeting!
Sign 4 – Have A Plan!
Sign 5 – Be on Social Media
Sign 6 – Have business cards on you at all times
Sign 7 – Have a Website
Sign 8 – Go Networking
Sign 9 – Doing The Business

Its easy when you start in business to be overwhelmed by the challenges

Its easy to focus on what your good or passionate about but that’s often not what makes you successful!

Its easy to get overwhelmed by admin tasks & sales administration which hurts your reputation and your business. Get help if you need it!

Don’t be a victim of the 9 Signs of “Not Being In Business” – once a victim, always a victim to them!

If you have any other top DOs, DONTs and MUSTs for spotting when people are “Not In Business” then please leave us a comment via the website or LinkedIn.

If you want to discuss your referral marketing, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with me via LinkedIn.

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Want More Sales? Go & Attend The Staffordshire Digital Summit 2014!

Staffordshire County Council is putting on a Digital Summit in the later half of September and early October where 8 FREE one-hour presentations will be put on by local digital marketing experts to help you and your business get the most out of social media and digital marketing.

The event is described as:

“The 2014 Staffordshire Digital Content Summit is presented by Staffordshire County Council and will provide expert insight to help you focus your digital vision and arm you with the tips, tricks and actionable know how to go on to create engaging and compelling content for your organisation.  Here’s what’s in store for you: We are bringing together a top line up of speakers and presenters, including media industry leaders, digital communicators and specialists of social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google as well as specialists in content creation, analytics, video marketing and much more.

At the summit you can soak up ideas and new strategies and enjoy opportunities to network with industry colleagues and like-minded peers about current best practice and learn how to get the most out of your own content.”

Sessions include:

  • Digital leadership
  • Case studies in digital engagement
  • Email marketing
  • amongst many other great topics.

Each session is one hour and held at Staffordshire County Council Trentham Room – Staffordshire County Council, 1 Staffordshire Place ST16 2LP STAFFORD with plenty of time to meet, network and talk with fellow attendees.

You can find all about it in more detail here – WEBSITE

You can book all your tickets here (via Evenbrite) – BOOK FOR TICKETS

More more information email communications@staffordshire.gov.uk or call 0300 111 8000

Let all your friends and business acquaintances know through the normal social media channels.

Look forward to meeting local business ourselves at the various sessions.

If you want to discuss your referral marketing, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with me via LinkedIn.

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Want More Sales? Burton Business Club Networking Meeting – 9th Sept 2014 @6.30pm

The next networking event put on by the Burton Business Club in Burton-upon-Trent is being held on 9th Sept 2014 at 6.30pm

Come along to network, make business contacts and get to know other professionals living and working in Burton-upon-Trent and the A38 Corridor between Staffordshire & Derbyshire in an semi-formal networking environment with a very nice evening meal to boot.

There is a guest speaker - “Cheeky Letters” – An inspirational talk for Businesses by well known business coach and author, Pete Moseley.  Often what holds us back in life is not the quality of our work, but the quality of our courage and ambition – Be bold – Aim high.”

For more information and to confirm attendance please book via events@burtonbusinessclub.co.uk or use the EVENTBRITE LINK – BOOK HERE.

The address for the event is at the Branston Golf & Country Club, Burton Road, Branston, Staffordshire DE14 3DP

Let all your friends and business acquaintances know through the normal social media channels.

Look forward to meeting local business ourselves on the day.

If you want to discuss your referral marketing, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with me via LinkedIn.

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Want More Sales? Cake & Business #Networking Group- #Stoke – Tuesday 2nd September 6.30-8.30pm

A new Stoke based open-networking club has launched very successfully through the efforts of local businesses in conjunction with the Coffee Lounge in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent will be meeting again this month, and highly recommended by us to attend.

The next meeting is Tuesday 2nd September at the Coffee Lounge, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, ST6 2AA from 6.30-8.30pm and every first Tuesday of each month thereafter.

Come along to network, listen to the guest speaker, make business contacts and get to know other professionals living and working in Stoke and Staffordshire in an informal environment + enjoy some great food and coffee from the Coffee Lounge itself.

The guest speaker is Andy Cook is a freelance graphic designer who has worked on a number of arts based projects in Stoke on Trent.  He is now hard at work on Entrepreneurs, a new streetwear store in Hanley, Stoke–on–Trent which also houses a gallery on the first floor, and a screen printing / creative workshop space.

For more information and to confirm attendance on 2nd September please contact:

connects@thecoffeelounge.org.uk or www.thecoffeelounge.org.uk

For more details click on the event flyer here - http://eepurl.com/1SJsz

Please let all your friends and business acquaintances know through the normal social media channels by reposting this wherever you find it – Twitter, Linked-in, Facebook or Google+.

Look forward to meeting local business ourselves on the night.

If you want more advice or guidance on your open networking & how to get the most out of it then please get in touch via LinkedIn.

If you want to discuss your referral marketing, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with me via LinkedIn.

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Want More Sales? Get Into Social Media!

As we often say, the four best forms of low-cost marketing any new, start-up or small business can engage in to grow their sales quickly and efficiently are:  Networking (getting people to know who you are); Reputation Building (differentiating yourself from the competition & getting people to spread the word about you in a positive manner behind your back); Referral Marketing (getting sales from your network); and Social Media.

As ever with any of these 4 tools or techniques, they all require hard work, perseverance, discipline and plan.  Social Media is no exception – sending out one tweet per month and wondering why the results are poor is not a great way to really grow your sales.

Why do social media if you are in business is the key question we should always ask ourselves?

But if you are still not sure then here are 10 great reasons from our friends at RED WEBSITE DESIGN BLOG based in Cheshire, a fantastic digital resource of great hints, tips and tricks on digital marketing that you can follow on TWITTER.

Originally published March 2014 as a blog post on their website, this excellent essay on the topic of why social media is a must for any business entitled - “10 Reasons Your Business Can’t Ignore Social Media Any Longer” which we think applies 100% to the real world of sales networking and referral marketing:

“If you think social media is a waste of time, think again! When I first set up Red Website Design social media was my only source of leads and to this day social media still generates the majority of my web traffic.  If you still need convincing take a look at the infographic below from Jason Squires which gives you 10 reasons why your business can’t ignore social media any longer.”

The 10 reasons they are explore are as follows:

  1. Increase in exposure
  2. Brand recognition
  3. Lead generation
  4. Marketplace insights
  5. Growth of business partnership
  6. Improved sales
  7. Reduced marketing costs
  8. More loyal fans
  9. Increase in traffic
  10. Improved search rankings

All of them are key positive points for any one serious about growing their business through referral marketing and word-of-mouth lead generation plus the fact that they are essentially free to use except for the time taken to manage them using tools like HOOTSUITE and the effort to add interesting content to engage your core audience etc.

10-reasons-your-business-cant-ignore-social-media-any-longer

Go to the main blog post to see the great original infographic in original size with loads of great examples from SMEs and big businesses winning through social media!

If you do work hard, persevere, are discipline and have a good plan of attack, you will see results (if simply by nothing else because your competitors won’t be tackling this in the same focused manner) than bring genuine ROI (which is time) in increased sales.

Follow RED WEBSITE DESIGN BLOG on TWITTER for more great digital marketing tips.

If you have any great stories of businesses you know that have won great new sales through social media then let us know through the comments or LinkedIn.

If you know of any great Staffordshire or West Midlands experts we can share with the world – let us know via LinkedIn

If you want to discuss your referral marketing, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with me via LinkedIn.

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Want More Sales? WiRE Stafford Invites Men To September Meeting!

On September 8th, the local Stafford Woman’s In Rural Enterprise group will be meeting in Stafford and inviting  all Men to attend.  The event is described by Tracey Nixon & Alison Townsend (who run the group) as follows:

“We are holding our next Stafford LiveWiRE’s meeting on Monday 8th September 2014.  Some people seem to have a limited and narrow view of those who attend the WiRE events, mainly from people who have not attended an event or meeting.  I want to dispel the myth that we are a bunch of hobbycraft women having a natter over coffee and cakes (obviously, not everyone’s view!).

So, with this in mind, we are going to open up our meetings still further, by inviting MEN along! We want them to see how we interact, learn, support and do business. We want people to see that we are serious women in business, making money from what we do and many of us are qualified professionals in business.

We will be having a male speaker, informing us about how to obtain free media PR and as we anticipate to have about 40 people, there will be plenty of time to network and make new acquaintances.

We invite you to our monthly meeting, which is being held at The Moat House Hotel, in Acton Trussell, Stafford, ST17 0RJ from 10am until 12 noon, with time available after for networking and 1-2-1′s.  The cost is only £3.50 for WiRE members and £4.50 for non-members. As always, the fee includes teas and coffees and pastries.  The meeting will start at 10am, so please arrive earlier in order to sign in and pay.

You are quite welcome to bring a guest who you believe will benefit from like-minded business women, all there to support one another and grow each others businesses.  With regard to the men, we will have a limit of 20, so it will be first replied, first allowed basis. You can either forward this newsletter to your trusted male business contacts, or forward their email addresses to me and I’ll invite them.

Please let us know, as soon as possible, if you will be attending so we can assure we give the correct numbers to The Moat House, thereby ensuring we have adequate food & drinks for everyone.

You can either book using this link: http://www.wireuk.org/index.php?page=booking by letting us know on the Facebook event or replying to this email.”

Let all your friends and business acquaintances know through the normal social media channels of this great networking opportunity here in Stafford.

Look forward to meeting local business ourselves on the day.

If you want to discuss your referral marketing, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with me via LinkedIn.

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Want More Sales? Use Twitter Hashtags to Help Market your Business!

Occasionally we like to share information on other topics from top local experts.

Today’s great tip is no exception thanks to RED WEBSITE DESIGN BLOG based in Cheshire, a fantastic digital resource of great hints, tips and tricks on digital marketing that you can follow on TWITTER.

Originally published end 2013 as a blog post on their website, this excellent essay on the topic of TWITTER Hashtah Hours was titled – “A Complete List of UK Twitter Hashtags to Help Market your Business” which we think applies to the real world of sales networking and referral marketing:

“When used correctly Twitter hashtags are a great way to market your business. With so much going on in a Twitter users news feed it is often easier to read the tweets sent via a hashtag instead.

We’ve put together a list of UK based hashtags you can use to get your message across and network with like minded and or local businesses.  If we’ve missed anything please tweet us and let us know.”

a-complete-list-of-uk-twitter-hashtags-to-help-market-your-business

Go to the main blog post for all to see the great original infographic in original size!

Follow them on TWITTER for more great digital marketing tips.

Here locally join in the fun to promote your business at:

  • #WestMidsHour – Weekly Tuesdays 8-9pm
  • #Staffordshirehour – Weekly Wednesdays 8-9pm
  • #Cannockhour – Weekly Thursday 7-8pm
  • #Shropshirehour – Weekly Thursday 8-9pm
  • #smallbizhour – Weekly Wednesday 9-10pm

Look out for more of these great twitter hours locally for you to promote your business or use other great business #hashtags such as #Bizitalk, #PurpleBiz, #BizHour and share them with us in the comments or via LinkedIn.

If you know of any great Staffordshire or West Midlands experts we can share with the world – let me know via LinkedIn

If you want to discuss your referral marketing, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with me via LinkedIn.

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Want More Sales? 7 Steps To Be Successful At Tenders!

Occasionally we like to share information on other topics from top local experts.

Today is the turn of Jonathan Andrew from Baswich Business Consultancy one of the top experts in procurement and public sector tendering we have had the pleasure to meet.

Jonathan has written a best selling book available on Amazon on the subject, often blogs at his website and teaches on workshops etc. He has kindly distilled down to 7 Steps, what is required to be successful at Public Sector tendering. Please enjoy in the attached presentation on Slideshare:

If tenders are, or are about to become, one of the channels that you use to grow your business, and you’re not sure where to start, these tips and Jonathan’s Book are for you!

Is it easy? Absolutely not. Are there any guarantees of success? In all honesty, the answer is no, and if anyone tells you something differently, walk away. In fact, run away, very quickly.

You are able to influence the tender submission that you prepare, and Jonathan’s advice will help you to make your submission more professional and more comprehensive, which in turn will increase your likelihood of success. There can be no guarantees and tenders may not be the right way for you to grow your business.

You have absolutely no control over the submissions that your competitors make. Your challenge is to make your response more compelling than those of your competitors. You won’t achieve that 100% of the time, you will win some tenders, you’ll lose some tenders. If you are the incumbent supplier, don’t be complacent. Just because you are the supplier currently, doesn’t mean that can’t change. It can, and often it does.

Jonathan’s aim with his tips & the book, is to give you an insight into what is required, and give you some tips and pointers that will help you to meet and overcome the challenges that you face when you are working through that tender submission. Invariably, the documentation for the tender you want to win will be issued when you’re really busy doing lots of other things, and the day job just won’t go away, so it is important to prepare as much in advance as you can.

So, enjoy the read, take the lessons and apply them to your business and increase your chances of success!

  1. Know Where to Search for Appropriate Tenders
  2. Prepare your Core Documentation in advance
  3. Raise Your Company Profile & Reputation
  4. Read the Tender Documents
  5. Answer the Questions Asked
  6. Proof Read your Response
  7. Ensure You Meet The Deadlines

Study the 7 steps in full in the presentation below and see which ones you need to work on in order to be successful at public sector tendering.

We appreciate how time-consuming tendering can be, and to get it working for you in the ways that you would wish for your business. After all, you’re busy doing what you do best: running a business, not necessarily speculating on a market with different sets of rules on how to win business than you are normally comfortable with in the private sector.

However – If you need a little more tendering success or procurement support to help your business then please get in touch with Jonathan via his website http://www.baswichbiz.co.uk for his blog & Linked-in or read his book – CLICK HERE to buy on Amazon.

Jonathan is also running a great course on winning tenders in Staffordshire on 16 September 2014 – CLICK HERE TO BOOK

If you know of any great Staffordshire or West Midlands experts we can share with the world – let us know via LinkedIn

If you want to discuss your referral marketing, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with me via LinkedIn.