Improving Business Leads – How to Be More Interesting and Engaging

While business networking and business leads are all about “business” there’s still something very personal and human about the process of networking. At the heart of it is human engagement. If you introduce a boring, drab and dull person into a networking event they’re not likely to garner the same business leads as someone with a lot more charisma and social finesse. Want to be more interesting? It takes more than just a few tricks – It’s very much a subjective issue as to what is “more interesting” but there are some things you can do to make yourself more engaging.

When you think about “being interesting” it’s about generating interest; giving people a reason to engage with you and stay connected once the networking is completed. Business leads and referrals then come later because people remember you based on your interests and how your personality resonated. It starts with knowledge

Improving Business Leads through Knowledge Acquisition

You can greatly increasing how interesting people perceive you to be by boosting your level of knowledge about interesting subjects. Mind you, this is not necessarily what’s interesting to you but what’s interesting to people overall. Again, this is subjective but a little research shows you some of the things that people are typically passionate about. Likewise, subjects that are specialized and not general knowledge are a good pick – underwater cave diving would stand out more than a specialists view of football.

Improving Business Leads with an Interesting Entrepreneurial Spirit

It’s consistent that most interesting people are those that have an interesting line of work. This makes other gravitate toward their specialty and want to learn more. The surgeon who specializes in a very unique heart procedure for saving children has a more interest career than the guy running a grocery store. Since we can’t all be groundbreaking pediatric cardiac surgeons you have to look elsewhere. Start something unique, do something crazy and build a brand that brings awareness and light on you. If that light can shine on those around you that’s even better because people will want a cut of your light.

Improving Business Leads – Be a Raconteur

A raconteur is someone that is highly skilled in the art of storytelling. From the time we’re crawling on the floor to the final resting place we all love a good story. Too many conversations are filled with small talk and verbal auto fellatio. If you want to increase your interest and engagement then learn to turn a conversation into a story. What elements interest people the most in a good story? Danger, Money, business, ego, psychology, social failure and of course… sex.

Improving Business Leads with Better Social Style

When you’re out there networking to build business leads, you have to remember that communication is all about style and presence. Interest is always about how you’re perceived, and style can help you fake it while you prepare to take it to the next level. Your communication style encompasses tone, speaking pace, ability to listen, mirroring conversation partners and overall presentation.

There’s no rocket science or magic formula behind being an interesting person. For many people it comes natural and for others they will need to work at it and build up their “skill”. Either way, if you present yourself properly you’ll improve your engagement and business lead acquisition at any business networking event.

Why Branding Is Important for Small Businesses

Often small businesses fall into two traps around branding – that they can’t manage it because they are small and that it is primarily about products anyway. While branding does feature the products or services that a business offers, this is only a small part of it. And branding is something that can benefit businesses of all sizes as well as being accessible to everyone. Here are a few reasons to seriously consider working on your company branding.

What is Branding?

Branding is about creating a unique identity for your business that means even when you sell the same products or services as someone else, you can stand out from the crowd and attract customer attention. Small business branding can often be seen as difficult to do as you can’t compete with the big company in terms of resources or manpower. And while this might be the case with resources, it doesn’t mean your branding can’t work for you just as well as theirs.

People relate better to companies that have strong branding and an identity. They vote for which branding works for them with their shop visits, clicks or purchases. By having strong, cohesive branding, your company can be the one that they notice, feel a connection with and therefore purchase from. It can also create brand loyalty and those crucial returning customers.

Recognition Leads to Trust

One thing studies have shown is that recognition of a brand builds trust and people are more likely to buy from a company if they feel they can trust them. Therefore, trust and reputation are key to business success and branding plays a big part in this.

By having that strong, identifiable brand, even the smallest company can begin to build trust with customers. This leads to customer loyalty – 48% of customers say they are more likely to become loyal to the brand during their first experience or purchase with them.

There are lots of ways to create that brand to build trust with everything from catchy slogans and memorable names to attractive and eye-catching colour schemes being used. But the most effective brands combine something of everything. They work on the principle that we retain only around one-tenth of the information that we see when we read something.

But if you include visuals with that information, this rate of retention rises up to almost two thirds. Therefore, having that catchy slogan paired with great graphics, a clear colour palette, brand voice and other elements means you have a better chance of people remembering what you do. That’s why visuals are so popular on social media and almost three-quarters of marketers use them ahead of even video.

Brand Reputation

As you attract attention for your brand and build trust, then you start to create a reputation, be it online or in the physical world. Reputation is crucial for business – it covers everything from customer interactions, product standard, feedback and even how you reward your customers.

That strong, positive reputation can even convince people to buy. 91% of shoppers asked in one study said they were more likely to buy from a brand that they viewed as ‘authentic’ than one that they didn’t. So building that brand reputation can gain you customers in a big way.

Using marketing teams to manage your reputation may seem like something that a small company cannot manage but this isn’t the case. By having external experts who take on tasks such as checking customer feedback, managing social media and creating the right content, you can quickly build and enhance your business reputation.

Making Sales

A strong brand increases the number of leads that you will generate and this, in turn, means making more sales. However, you need to maintain your reputation and standards when generating these leads or the work done by the brand can vanish. Response times, voice and even the actual content you use to handle leads all needs to be consistent with the brand.

Following through on your promises also helps build that reputation. Have a clear customer process with times outlined so customers know what to expect and make sure you follow it – that way people are impressed with what you do and more likely to tell others.

Business Growth

That strong, cohesive brand is crucial for other areas of the business growth. Staff morale, for example, can be a problem. If staff are demotivated, don’t know what the company stands for or feel unimportant, then this can lead to bad customer service. This damages the brand.

So by having a clear brand that employees can get behind, you can offer a better service to your customers. Staff feel proud to talk about what the company does or the services that it offers. And they learn to talk with the brand’s voice, ensuring all of their communications with customers offers consistency. This makes the company seem more friendly and approachable and this is another reason that customers become loyal to the brand.

Branding also stands out to potential investors in the business. According to a study by Reuters, some 82% of investors said that the strength of a company’s brand and name recognition were important factors in a decision to get involved with a business.
What this shows is that from all aspects of the business, branding is crucial. You need to have a presence that is recognisable from your social media profiles and website through to your physical store if you have one. The brand rules how you talk to customers and ensures staff can believe in it.

There are lots of ways that branding can help with business growth and success. This means that having a strong brand and optimised strategy to use it is vital to the long-term success and profitability of your company.

Internet Marketing For Small Business Owners – Use A Lead Follow Up System To Get More Customers

If you are new to the topic of internet marketing for small business strategies, you may not understand why it is a good idea to use email lead follow up systems to get more customers and grow your local business. The results of many surveys have shown that online business marketers have received most of their sales from the members of their business email lists. So if you are wanting to get more local business online consider setting up an email lead follow up system with an autoresponder service.

Make sure that you have an opt in form on every page of your website so that where ever your visitors go, they have the opportunity to join your business email list. Offer them something of real benefit that will entice them to join your list in order to get access to it. After they have joined, you must continue to follow them up by sending out emails at regular intervals so that your local business is kept constantly in their minds. I have heard many internet marketing experts say that it can take up to seven points of contact with a subscriber before they take the decision to make a purchase.

It is also a fact that we as consumers are much more likely to make a purchase from someone we know something about and have come to trust. If a sales person appears at your door and tries to sell something to you, you are not likely to buy it, even if the product is a good one – mainly because you don’t know them and perhaps could not trust them either. The same process occurs online.

However, you can build a relationship by creating a lead follow up system in which you email your prospects regularly with information that presells your services. Tell them about special promotions that you have on offer, send out a newsletter, refer them to an article or blog post in which you educate them about some area relevant to your business niche. When you send out lead follow up emails always make sure that you highlight the benefits to them as the customer. In other words what is in it for them?

A lead follow up system with an autoresponder service can also be used to remind your business email list subscribers that you are available to assist them with their needs. You can also use this lead follow up system to receive feedback on your products and services by sending out an email which asks them directly. Research has also shown that if you share a little about your story with your prospects, you can very quickly build up a rapport with the target market that you serve in the local community. By sharing your life experiences and story in these emails you will find your customers are more able to trust you as they get to know you more.

Internet marketing for small business strategies is all about creating relationships with the people who need your services to the point where they know and trust you enough to do business with you. You can build this relationship with an email lead follow up system using an autoresponder service.

Small Business Management – 2 Tips for Effectively Leading Employees

In today’s Lean Start Up culture of small business, the major thought among many owners and operators is the need to output products and services at an optimal quality and high level of productivity that satisfies market demand. Naturally, the adherence to these principles increases the probability of the business to experience robust revenue and profit growth in addition to increasing market share. For the most part, these outcomes are desired highly by small business owners, but they also pose a considerable business risk in the form of employee mismanagement.

The labor component of any business easily can account for at least 30% of the total cost structure depending on the business model utilized (i.e. manufacturing, retail, service). Thus, management prioritizes its monitoring and oversight of this cost component to ensure proper balance and alignment with production output and ultimately market demand. In doing this, though, employees are often treated as components of a business’s production cycle instead of human beings. The tendency of management to treat and manage employees as objects rather than people can have a negative impact on the business both in the short and long-term.

Owners of small businesses can and should learn to “lead” and not manage their employees. Webster’s Dictionary Online defines management as “the act or process of deciding how to use something”. Since most small businesses consist of no more than 5 employees including the owner, there’s a close camaraderie among employees and owners that helps in making the production process more flexible and agile in regards to changes in market demand. The downside to this strength is that management fails to learn how to lead their staff. As a result, employees are not empowered to think in creative ways to enhance the business’s competitive advantage for the long-term. Instead, they are relegated to menial and automated tasks similar to a machine. We are not discounting or understating the value of an employee that performs menial and automated tasks, but it’s management’s responsibility to ensure that each and every employee’s ability is maximized for the business’s success.

Two key small business management tips for “leading” employees are:

Tip One: Reward and Recognize Employees Early and Often
The implementation of this first tip is easy and straightforward. The power of getting results with this tip is from a commitment to consistency. Small business owners should set up a personnel reward and recognition system that incentives their staff for taking calculated risk within their scope of work to think creatively in enhancing the long-term competitive advantage of the business. Examples include gift cards, certificates, novelty items, etc. The goal here is to reinforce behavior that adds value to the business and these come from leading them to think creatively of ways to do their jobs better and more efficiently.

Tip Two: Delegate Effectively
This second tip focuses on empowering your employees rather than micro managing them. Effective managers know that the line between empowerment and micro managing is slim, but with experience and foresight, managers can implement this tip with ease as well. Empowering employees is all about clearly communicating expectations and vesting authority in them to accomplish the desired goal. Delegating effectively holds amazing value for owners of small businesses because it’s a way for them to replicate themselves exponentially.