As many of you know, I got my start in the landscape industry 25 years ago (wow!) and many of my consulting clients and audiences that I speak to are landscape industry oriented. A few months ago, my long-time friend Gregg Wartgow called and wanted my thoughts on his feature on Marketing to Millennials – and then the conversation jumped into using an iPad for a sales presentation – one of my most popular talks in 2011 and 2012… Here is the article on using a tablet for your sales strategy. Thanks, Gregg!
How To Sell With Your Tablet Computer
Bring presentations to life through pictures, video, product guides and more
Tools such as PowerPoint presentations can really add some sizzle to your steak in certain selling situations. Tablet computers such as the iPad present the latest opportunity for landscape contractors.
“Using technology in general is something the Green Industry is more and more interested in,” says Jason Cupp, a business consultant and former landscape contractor. “This is especially true when you’re talking about pushing the sales process forward in a new and unique way.”
Bringing sales presentations to life
When selling landscaping services, particularly design-build, it’s difficult to explain to the customer what they’re going to get. “It’s a challenge to get someone to pay for a Mercedes without first allowing them to test drive that Mercedes,” Cupp relates. “You can stand in someone’s backyard and say: ‘Here’s where a water fountain is going to be, here’s an area of lush turf, here are some perennials,’ and so on. But it’s not always easy for the customer to visualize it.”
Bringing the project right to the client is the biggest advantage of selling with a tablet computer. Sure, you can do the same type of thing with a laptop computer. But the enhanced mobility and touch-screen usability of a tablet, not to mention its trendiness, make it an effective tool when selling to Millennials, Generation Xers and Baby Boomers alike.
What to include
There are two ways you can go: 1) create a PowerPoint presentation and load it onto your tablet, or 2) simply load a variety of files onto your tablet and call them up one by one as you’re speaking with the client.
What kind of files should you consider loading?
“Photos have and always will be a great way to tell a story,” Cupp says. Photos of finished projects are a must, generally depicting the before-and-after. Photos of your facility, and key managers and foremen are also something to consider.
Video can be even more effective than photos. Consider videos of your crews working on projects. Consider videos of finished projects; there is more impact when a client can see and hear that waterfall running, for instance. Client testimonials are also very powerful.
Product information is another good one. “When I was in design/build, we had product PDFs of all of our hardscape material,” Cupp recalls. Having that type of information on your tablet can prove to be helpful. You can quickly and easily reference it and/or share it with a client. You could also consider lighting products, plant material, irrigation hardware … and the list goes on.
Jason Cupp is a Kolbe Certified Growth Consultant, Team Building Expert and Motivational Speaker. As a former CEO and past president of PLANET, Jason’s diverse knowledge and experience, combined with a relational and approachable style, have allowed him to intersect with countless individuals, businesses and organizations. Email jason AT jasoncupp DOT com to contact him.
To see the direct link, click here.
A few weeks ago, I was speaking to a crowd about the impact of Social Media on today’s business, economy and culture… Someone in my audience suggested I watch the video “Is Social Media a Fad?” – compelling…! Although the content and metrics are a bit dated, the idea is still relevant. Your thoughts?
As I mentioned earlier this week, I really do enjoy reading the USA Today on my iPad and I stumbled upon this article last week as I was traveling that I 100% agreed with. Steve Strauss outlines some trends he sees that could be very relevant in 2012, and I think he is spot on.
If you’d like the direct link to the article, click here.
Ask an Expert: The top 5 small business trends for 2012
By Steve Strauss, for USA TODAY
In my column last week I started looking at the top 10 trends, factors, and events that will shape your business in 2012. This week we are down to the Top 5.
No. 5. Internet video takes center stage. Consider these statistics:
• According to Cisco, online video now makes up 50% of all consumer Internet traffic
• Last year, almost 200 million Americans watched online videos every month, and on any given day, 100 million people will watch videos online
What does this mean for your business? Plenty. People love video, and it turns out that video increases sales. Onlineshoes.com says that its conversion rate is up to 45% higher with video and Zappos.com says it sells up to 30% more when videos are used to display a shoe.
The upshot is that you need to strongly consider adding video to the mix, be it an online video brochure, a tour of your store, video newsletters, or just some instructional videos.
No. 4. Social media is becoming the land of the have and have nots: There seem to be two distinct camps when it comes to social media vis-à-vis small business: Those who get it and use it effectively and those that don’t give a whit about it (oh, and camp three — those that get it but dabble ineffectively in it).
According to the 2011 Impact of Social Business in Small and Medium Business Study, about 50% of small businesses use social media. Those that do, do so for the following reasons:
• 80% of online visitors use social media daily
• More than 50% of all social media users follow a brand
• Social media is growing exponentially — Facebook added over 200 million users in 2011
So for the small business that has figured out that social media must be a key element to their business model going forward, I say way to go. To the other 50% I say — what are you waiting for?
No. 3: The death of 9 to 5: Does anyone really work at a desk five days a week from 9 to 5 anymore? Of course I am being facetious . . . or am I? A myriad of things have combined to make it so that we can work anywhere, anytime (whether we want to or not): The Internet, laptops, tablets, smartphones, apps and software are the main culprits.
I say culprits because some of this work anywhere, anytime stuff is great (checking emails while waiting at the airport) and some of it stinks (checking emails while on the beach in Hawaii.)
As my sweet grandfather used to say: Too much of a good thing is a bad thing.
No. 2. Are happy days here again?
First a caveat: I am not an economic prognosticator and no one here is saying that the economy is peachy because it is not. But that said, there are signs that the economic doldrums we have been in for too long may be lifting a bit:
• Consumer confidence continues to rise
• Unemployment claims continue to fall
• Fourth-quarter GDP growth is looking to be in the 3% to 4% range
And while lowered expectations seem to be the new normal, it is nice to be able to report something other than dour economic news for a change. If this trend continues, it will surely shape your business significantly in 2012, and happily for the better.
And the Top Trend for 2012 is:
No. 1: Mobile mania! With iPads flying off the shelf and laptops outselling desktops, with smartphones all the rage and more than a million apps in the App store, with more than 20% of all searches being done on a mobile device now, it is clear that the era of mobile work is at hand.
For the small business, this sea-change will have all sorts of ripples:
• Employees will increasingly expect to work when and where they want (see No. 3, above)
• Customers will want to be able to interact with your business via their mobile device
• Sooner rather than later, you will be using apps to run your business
• Geo-targeting mobile marketing offers is a good idea
• Your website needs to be mobile friendly
• Mobile ad campaigns should probably become part of your marketing mix
And that’s a wrap. Happy New Year to all, and sincere thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to read my column!
Ask an Expert appears Mondays. You can e-mail Steve Strauss at:sstrauss AT mrallbiz DOT com.An an index of Strauss’ columns is here. Steven D. Strauss is a lawyer, author and speaker who specializes in small business and entrepreneurship. His latest book is Get Your Business Funded: Creative Methods for Getting the Money You Need. You can sign up for his free newsletter, “Small Business Success Secrets!” at his website —www.mrallbiz.com. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/stevestrauss.
I love reading awesome business stories in the newspaper and in magazines. Of course, other topics interest me as well. When I was traveling last week, I read this on the USA Today iPad App and had to email it to myself. If you’re in small business, like so many of you are, take a gander. Ms. Abrams gives some incredible tips for 2012 that I think are more than relevant to all business owners and managers.
If you’d like the direct link to the article, click here.
Small Business Strategies: Twelve tips for 2012
By Rhonda Abrams, USA TODAY
I’m guessing that one of your New Year’s Resolutions for your small business was to make more money.
Great. But now what?
To help you actually achieve your goal, I’ve got 12 tips to make sure you do make more money this year.
1. Get listed free. Take 30 minutes — right after you finish reading this column — and list your business, free, on search engine local listings.
This helps your company show up when a prospective customer searches for a business like yours on the Web or a mobile device. No technical expertise is needed. Get started with Bing business portal, bing.com/businessportal; Foursquare, foursquare.com/business; Google Places,google.com/places; Yahoo Local, local.yahoo.com; and Yelp, biz.yelp.com/claiming.
2. Figure out what makes you money. Businesses have two kinds of money, cash and profits.
Cash comes from making sales. Profits come from selling products or services for more than they cost you to produce. Small businesses generally focus on bringing in cash, and that’s OK because cash keeps the doors open.
But to get ahead, you need to focus on the parts of your business that bring you the most profits.
3. Market to current and former customers. Satisfied customers are the ones most likely to be future customers or refer others to you.
Yet small businesses typically neglect to market to them.
When my garbage disposal breaks, will I remember the name of the plumber I used two years ago? Not if the business doesn’t keep its name in front of me.
4. Get a contact management system. You need a good way to organize, manage, and stay in touch with your contacts, something easy and that you can access from mobile devices, not just a drawer full of business cards.
My company just switched to Salesforce.com.
5. Create a marketing plan. Spend your marketing dollars and time wisely.
Identify your best prospects and the most effective ways to reach them. Then market consistently. You have to stay in front of prospects.
6. Contact at least three prospects a week. Or seven. Or 20.
Give yourself a realistic quota, make a list of top prospects and referral sources and keep it where you see it. Get out there and sell.
7. Bother people. I mean be persistent, not annoying.
People are busy, including your prospects. Even if they want to buy from you, they may forget you. So stay in touch repeatedly.
8. Close the deal. Marketing is great, but at the end of the day, you also have to make — and close — the sale.
Sure, you have to let prospects know about your products or services, but you also have to ask them to make the purchase. Give them incentives to purchase now and make sure they see a strong call to action in your marketing materials.
And ask, directly and in person, to take the order, close the deal.
9. Shop local, shop small. I asked a woman at my gym where she got her workout shoes.
She responded: “Try them on at (name of local small store), then order them online.” Yikes!
Small businesses can’t survive as showrooms for online retailers. If we want customers to buy from us, we have to shop small.
10. Check out social-media marketing. I’m not saying that Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn will make you money, but you can increase your visibility.
At least know enough to figure out whether it might be right for you.
11. Get a cloud-based email newsletter service. Don’t be misled by the word “newsletter.” You can use these services to announce sales, new products or services, whatever.
Some choices for small businesses: Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, Vertical Response, Emma. An added bonus of cloud services is analytics. You get far better information about how your sales efforts are performing and who is responding to your emails.
12. Develop a business plan. In many ways, this is the most important.
Yes, I’m biased because I’ve written two books on developing business plans. But developing a business plan has been the single most important contribution to my company’s survival and success. Planning gets everyone moving in the same direction and provides structure for decision-making.
Now is the perfect time to develop a business plan for 2012.
Rhonda Abrams is president of The Planning Shop and publisher of books for entrepreneurs. Her newest is the 5th edition of The Successful Business Plan: Secrets and Strategies. Register for Rhonda’s free newsletter at www.PlanningShop.com and “like” The Planning Shop on Facebook for updates. For an index of her columns, go to smallbiz.usatoday.com. Twitter: twitter.com/RhondaAbrams. Copyright Rhonda Abrams 2011.
As you might know, I’m in the Team Building Business… I was talking to a friend of mine the other night and he shared with me the website www.graphjam.com and I saw this, and had to laugh…. It’s somewhat *true*…