Branding and Marketing Plans for 2015 with a Sales Focus

No crystal ball for 2015
No crystal ball for 2015!
Image courtesy bb_matt at Flickr.

I’ve often posted New Year branding and marketing plans, predictions, resolutions or lists:
2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007 – guess I’ve been blogging for a while.

But I’m going to try something different for the 2015 post.

Most of my clients are not looking for marketing, branding or plans. I know that seems unlikely, but actually they are looking for the sales that come as a result of the planning, marketing and branding.

So today, I’m adding tips from a sales perspective that may be helpful for my branding and marketing readers.

From Julie Wassom, marketing expert specializing in Alpacas and Child Care Centers from “How Trial Closing Questions Can Help You Win the Sale”. Although she’s a marketing expert, she has very practical sales advice to share:

What type of question can help you win the sale? If you said, “asking a final closing question,” you are right. However, there is another type of question that can make it easy for you to increase conversions of prospect inquiries to farm visits and especially farm visits to sales. What is it?

This question is called a trial closing question. While a final closing question requests a commitment to visit or buy, a trial closing question merely requests the prospect’s agreement on a benefit you have just presented. The response you ideally want from the prospect is, “Yes.”

It is a good practice to ask brief trial closing questions throughout a farm visit, immediately following select benefit statements that address that prospect’s expressed needs. For instance, “With this female, you will get the bloodlines you want and your favorite color of fiber.”(This is the benefit statement) “Is this a combination you are looking for?” (That is the trial closing question.)

How can you use of trial closes make it easier for you to win the sale? Using good trial closes throughout your sale calls and visits gives YOU these four things:

Immediate feedback on whether or not the benefit you presented is an important decision factor for the prospective prospect.

“Here you can see how well our animals are cared for, and the types of herd management techniques we teach the buyers of our animals. Is this the kind of support appealing to you?” If the prospect says, “Yes,” you know you are on the right track in your benefit presentation.

Unearths objections early so you can overcome them before they impact the prospect’s decision. Sometimes, breeders just keep talking, not realizing that the prospect did not agree, and has likely stopped listening to you until their disagreement about the previous benefit is addressed. In this case, use Wassom’s Triple A Formula for Handling Objections, and change your direction to present benefit statements that more directly address what this prospect is looking for.

Engages the prospect. Most of today’s prospects prefer interaction WITH you around their alpaca buying decisions versus just an explanation FROM you. By asking trial closing questions throughout the farm visit, you keep them engaged, which means they are really listening to what you say, and your farm’s benefits are presented in shorter bites before they know you will be asking for their agreement or feedback. It keeps them alert and makes the call or visit interactive.

Makes it easier to ask the final closing question. When you have used several trial closing questions during a face-to-face prospect conversation or farm visit (and even a couple on the inquiry -to-visit conversion call), you will likely be doing what I call, “Stringing the Yeses”.

This means you will have gotten a series of “Yes” responses from prospects verbalizing their own agreement to your alpacas meeting their needs and desires. That helps THEM feel more confident in you and your farm as the right place from which to buy. It helps YOU, because it makes it so much easier to ask that prospect to buy animals or book breedings. By responding “Yes” to your trial closing questions, they have already convinced themselves that buying from you is a good decision.

Just before you ask a final closing question, as a trial closing question, such as “Do these seem like animals that would fit well into your herd?” If your prospect agrees and says, “Yes,” it will be easy for you to immediately ask a good final closing question to gain their commitment to buy them.

Practice using good trial closing questions, and watch how they make it easier for you to win the sale!

Julie – thanks for your inspiration for today’s post. I love your way of step by step teaching! Please let me know where I can link to it on the internet, as I found it only via an email.

Use Mobile Search Optimization Best Practices in Your Titles

If no one has heard of you, using your brand name in the title is just a waste of characters!

If you are trying to brand and market your company going into 2015 you are probably concerned with getting found on the search engines from a smart phone.

Search engine optimization for mobile is similar to getting found on other browsers as well. Strong SEO in the title is your first step.

Length of title makes a difference in the search engines. Aim for about 60 or 65 characters with your keyword phrase near the front of the title.

Be careful to leave out the non-search terms. There are several common words that are a waste of characters. You’ve seen them used all over a website: about, welcome, home, menu and so on. These words show up in so many titles but no one searches for them! Just for laughs, type one of these into your search box and see how many results come up. Yikes!!

Only optimize one keyword phrase per article or post. Trying to have posts do double duty only weakens the effectiveness.

Mobile Search Optimization Best Practices for Branding

If your brand name is a search term, include it… but if no one has heard of you, it’s a waste of characters. Use what people will be searching for! Just adding your company name or brand name into your title will not make people search for the term.

Mobile screens are smaller, so you’ll want to use shorter keyword phrases if possible.

Beyond the title, the content makes the difference and having strong unique content of at least 300 words is critical. Interviewing experts and transcribing the interview makes for great content. This will help you to build credibility and create a platform for your brand as well.

Look into other SEO best practices before finalizing the optimization of your post or article.

Smart phones have surpassed traditional search so it is time for developing a plan for your mobile search program.

Using New Technology to Market Your Brand

Hammacher Schlemmer is using some new technology to bring attention to their brand. They’ve added “augmented reality” or AR to their most recent catalog.

They are a company that is known for being first. Their first catalog was printed back in 1848. They’re also know for having the longest running catalog.

The purpose is to get the products to leap off the page in 3D. You can read more about it here or watch the video:

If you get one of the catalogs, let me know what you think of it!

The Secret of Creating a Great Brand Name

a great brand name has these qualitiesAlthough this was written forĀ  creating a strong brand name for a new drug, the premise is true for any new great brand name:

A great drug name needs to be memorable. It needs to be easy to say. It needs to be easy to write and understand. And it also needs to be clear of any existing names that may be on the registers.

A tall order if you’re coming up with a new name. First you brainstorm names. And even bits of names. Combining things and separating things. Lists and more lists.

Check the trademark office. And the availability of the domain.

Then running it by people (potential target markets are a good idea… your spouse, not so much… unless of course, they are the target market.)

Don’t invest in a logo or graphics until the full legal work is done. Be sure to run it by the most influential people on your board of directors/investor’s group. Nothing worse then getting all the way down the road and finding that it doesn’t resonate with a key individual.