Why Are Small Businesses So Important for the Economy?

Why Are Small Businesses So Important for the Economy? featured image

With the UK’s current recession it’s important to define why the impact on small businesses during the pandemic has had a considerable impact on the economy. Of course, it’s simple to say fewer businesses in operation means less money flowing through, but why particularly are small businesses so important for the economy?

Creating new jobs 

First and foremost a small business regularly creates job opportunities. Predominantly offering chances for graduates and BAME members to showcase their skills. Skills which are regularly being sought out alongside experience in larger corporations. Anyone can create a small business. It takes a lot to grow and develop that business further, but the initial creation is open to everyone. As the company grows there will be a need to bring in people to handle the daily operations. Creating more job opportunities, and more money for those new team members. Which they can then spend to sustain themselves and live more enriched lives. 

These job opportunities also enrich the local community by employing local people around the new company. When big corporations establish a new base of operation within a city the population increases within that city. Which is why, in 2017, we saw many cities bidding to secure amazon’s new headquarters. Job growth within a local area helps those communities bid for renovations, transport links and housing. 

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Collaboration and Competition 

All small businesses offer something new to the world. Whether it’s taking an existing product and challenging it’s delivery or tailoring specific services to those that need it the most. Small businesses breed resourcefulness and innovation. Without them, big businesses wouldn’t need to change and they certainly wouldn’t be challenged to the degree they are now. 

Small businesses can also enjoy fewer restraints that can come with much larger businesses. Easier to change policies, procedures and products without any lengthy procedures. Without limitations, local business can continuously be fresh and appealing for new clients. 

It isn’t all competition, however, as many small businesses design services around collaborating with big businesses. Suppliers, designers and even small corner shops all play a role. Big businesses rely on small businesses to handle specialised projects or manage a few elements of the day to day business. Such as cleaning offices, managing websites or distribution within a local area. Of course, some businesses choose to have a full in-house team to manage these areas, but a variety of businesses are more than willing to contract a small business to do the job. 

All of this collaboration and competition drives money through the economy and even when small businesses fail the impact they’ve had on the area is noticeable. Revenue was generated, distributed and flowed through the economy. Mistakes that were made were logged, understood and ready to be navigated around for the next venture. Unique businesses inspired new business owners, new ideas and better customer service. 

What this means today

Unfortunately, a recession and a weak economy discourage new potential business owners from start-up ventures or expansion. Impacting job growth and hinders our ability to grow the economy. Trying to start or grow a small business in uncertain times can cause a lot of stress and challenges, which is why everyone needs to band together in this period.

Offer advice, engage and help people grow when you can. Every business right now needs that collaboration and sense of community.

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Is Your Company Fit for Growth?

Is Your Company Fit for Growth? featured image

Business Growth no matter how it is generated comes with a few growing pains. A massive increase in revenue, workload and team members can cause some interesting problems. So, before you strive for massive immediate growth ask yourself, is your company fit for growth? 

Capacity

When you work with a product, your supply is your capacity. You can make more, but you wouldn’t overstock your warehouses full of products without the consistent sales to back it up. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you over-sell you’ll have a backlog of orders. The longer it takes to fulfil those orders the more frustrated customers can become. Transferring this idea into services, the amount of work being taken on compared to the capacity of your team creates the same issue. Projects won’t be completed to the highest possible standard and it’s the clients that suffer. You need a deep understanding of how much work each person in your company is capable of and are comfortable with. If your team isn’t fit for growth then your business certainly isn’t. 

It’s one thing to understand the extent to which one person can work, but constantly pushing for that during tough periods of someone’s life could cause burnouts, frustration and job-hopping. Just because someone can work extensive overtime hours doesn’t mean they should day-in and day-out. It’s important to push your team, just not off a cliff. 

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Sustainability

One of the greatest traits entrepreneurs and business leaders have is the ability to seemingly predict the future. If an offering has a shelf life, due to a change in direction of public view or you’ve decided to capitalise on a trend which is slowly losing its traction, growth just isn’t possible. A fluctuating market could cause sporadic growth and decline, so if you’re opening up a new avenue in your current business to garner some popularity and sales you have to be prepared for the sudden impact and sharp decline. 

Take fidget spinners for example… Manufacturers across the world saw a sudden demand from suppliers looking to sell fidget spinners. You even saw major retailers get involved and specific spinner brands come out of the woodwork. Before long, however, the trend died down and there must have been thousands of unspun spinners spanning the globe. The sudden demand may have caused panicked bulk purchasing to meet the demand. Then, a sudden drop. Causing a net loss for those companies involved. When you latch onto a new product or service ensure you’re ready for the rise and possible fall. 

Responsibility 

When you’re a small business you have a small team of passionate people looking to grow and thrive together. As time goes on the team expands. Team leaders and created, head of departments are crowned and before long you have your intern making the coffee rounds…. Before social distancing of course, now we’re all on our own. What happens next is the increase in your responsibilities to your team and your industry. People look towards your company for guidance on how to move forwards and best practices. Especially if your company’s goal is to help businesses grow! 

As you grow, so do your responsibilities. Suddenly your actions can affect your more than just a handful of people. Before long you’re impacting more than a hundred people directly and thousands of people indirectly. As your company grows that responsibility can be a weight lingering over your shoulders. Some thrive under pressure, but it takes a hefty mental toll to keep pushing forwards. So ensure you’re ready to take on responsibility and have the fortitude to move forwards. Ensure you’re fit for growth personally before moving forwards professionally.

It doesn’t mean you’re on your own, however, with those responsibilities come support systems and people willing to help you through it all. If you’re struggling to move forwards there are courses, webinars and helpful guides to help achieve your goals. Surround yourself with the right people and you’ll be able to handle anything. 

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How to Achieve Organic Business Growth

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Strong organic business growth is a dream situation for any small business. Even the largest corporations seek constant organic growth at a rapid rate when the initial push begrudgingly slows down. But, how can you achieve organic growth consistently and successfully right now? 

Maximise your Team 

One of the simplest ways to grow your business is to train and upskill the people within your team. You’ll be surprised by the amount of creative, actionable ideas members of your team can generate. This opens up endless avenues for your business. Training your team to be more efficient, flexible and communicative could have a huge impact on the daily operations of your business. 

Another way to maximise the use of your team for organic growth is to remove pointless procedures. Automate areas within your business that don’t require constant attention. Ensure you are making things constantly easier for your team to do their jobs, so much so they can focus on building the business up, rather than bogged down in constant paperwork. This could be something as simple as designing templates for frequent use to more complicated processes such as AI-driven automated responses for frequently asked questions on your website. 

Scale Accordingly

Too much too young too fast isn’t just a catchy song. If you take on more than you can handle you won’t achieve organic business growth. You’ll back yourself into a corner fast and scramble for someone to bail you out. To scale accordingly you need to understand your ability and the extent to which your team can work comfortably. When you push the team too far their ability to work slips. Without enough time or resources quality will suffer. 

Instil a company culture that allows clear communication. If your team is struggling you need to know. If they are too afraid to tell you a problem they are facing and battle through without a clear understanding of how to accomplish the task your end product or service is not going to be good. Or it will be good and your team suffers mentally from the battle. This leads to burnouts and a major loss of your company’s image and productivity.   

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Have a Strategy 

Every action you take in the day must be directed at the collective goal of growing the business. If a process or a project is starting to spiral out of control into something outside that goal you need to address it. Steer it back in the right direction and ensure each step is thoroughly thought out. You might not have a lot of time to react, but don’t rush into anything blind. Cover your bases from the smallest of issues that may occur. 

The strategy must also be clear and understood by everyone involved. Crossed wires and confusion hinders business growth. As it can harm your brand image and lead to a loss of sales as a result. No one wants to work with a confused team. It leads to frustration, arguments and in extreme cases court appearances. 

Use the Tools Available

There are numerous growth tools and government schemes available for business owners specifically designed to help businesses grow. Social media platforms offer numerous incentives for companies to join and thrive on their services. Predominantly for advertising opportunities, but the tools available work well to increase exposure, brand awareness and if leveraged correctly sales. 

Learn 

Through reviewing and understanding your work you can continuously improve your business. Taking the time to look at a project could make a whole difference into how you’ll approach the same type of project in the future. Did a teammate struggle with a certain aspect? Guide them through it and what your business can do to help. Maybe there is a gap in knowledge that needs to be addressed moving forwards? Invest in training that can help them push forward and break through those mental barriers that stop them from performing.  You’ll never know the true potential of your business unless you strive to learn and get better from every project you undertake. 

To achieve the organic business growth you need to be constantly thinking about improving. Whether that’s implementing new strategies, or completely revamping your current processes. When you learn you grow. When your business learns it grows. 

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How to spot a Fake Influencer

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With more businesses looking to influencers for business growth and brand recognition, many people are willing to fake their following for the sake of capitalizing on the current trend. Does this mean influencer marketing is a scam? Of course not. Well, not most of the time. Make sure you’re working with the right people who understand your market before considering working with any influencer. There are telling signs that these people aren’t who they say they are, and here is how you can spot a fake influencer. 

The Approach

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Unless you’ve sought out the influencer yourself they’ve approached you and your company for exposure possibilities. Before you look at the account you should ensure that the message is more personable to you and your company, otherwise, it’s an automated message they send to everyone. Including phrases like “Wow, love your content… would you be interested in…” and “Love your post, I offer…” now they seem genuine, to begin with, but as time goes on you soon learn they have no idea who you actually are and haven’t even looked at your content. If you’re just another sale down the line it can be a red flag that the engagement you receive from their “services” will also be automated responses and bots. 

Data by MediaKix

Follow the Numbers

Numbers don’t mean everything in influencer marketing. The reason why many brands back an influencer is well because of their influence. They have a grasp of the market the brand is trying to connect with by being an advocate for them. So, just having a large following doesn’t mean they have influence. It could mean they’ve implemented follow-for-follow extensively or used bot accounts to raise their accounts to the heavens. Implement a dip test into the followers and check the accounts are real, recently active and are the right people for you. If the follower list is private, check the posts themselves for the engagement. Are the comments too similar? Do they sound like automated statements? 

The Right Fit 

You will see a few fake Influencer’s tackle the same hashtags to generate business, so if you post once about a dog’s recent visit to your accountancy firm you won’t get offers to grow your finance business. Instead, you’ll get offers to propel the dog’s career. If you’re going into influencer marketing those who prospect are usually those who don’t offer much value. They are the influencers, so you should be seeking them out as you understand the effect they have on your target audience. So make sure they are the right fit and never respond to obviously automated messages. 

Influencer marketing can be a tough road to navigate as the biggest names come with the biggest price tags. With any niche influencer covered by an air of mystery whether the authenticity is there or not. Sometimes it’s obvious, you can see right through an account with fake engagement. Other times it’s hard to spot a fake influencer from a real one. My best advice is to open up a conversation and gauge reaction. Don’t argue or barter to extensively, just discuss. Cracks soon develop on fake influencers when challenged, so don’t be afraid to ask a question or two. 

If you want to avoid influencer marketing altogether and become the influencer yourself, we’ve got in-depth social selling tools at the Maverrik Store.

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How to Appear in Your Target Audiences Notifications

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Getting seen and standing out is the biggest reason anyone implements any marketing strategy. You want to be in front of the right people and inject yourself into their lives. Hence the term disruptive marketing. You interrupt their normal day by injecting whatever you want to sell to your audience. So, through injecting yourself into your target audiences notifications you can start selling your products to them. How is this done? There are many different tactics you can employ, so here are just a few. 

Content 

If you put off regular engaging content your audience will make sure they don’t miss out on another post. So, during the end of each piece of content ensure to add a call-to-action at the end of each piece of content. Whether that means leaving a comment or a like all the way up to switching on their notifications. Then, when a fresh piece of content is posted your audience will immediately be notified. Regular posting means regular exposure to you and your company. Make sure to form long-life content that draws people in. The end goal is to become a part of your audience’s natural life-cycle. Exercise, eat, enjoy Maverrik content, sleep. 

Everyone has specific tastes and follows certain topics. With enough market research and understanding, you can formulate content which resonates well with your target audience. Fanatics of certain topics will have notifications turned on for any news considering a certain topic. 

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Anniversaries and Birthdays 

Social media sites like LinkedIn regularly contact connections and friends about important dates in your life.  Whether this may be work anniversaries or birthdays. Expect an influx of good wishes from people you may have never contacted before wishing you well.  When you have an important date on the calendar you will appear with the notifications of your connections, so build up those connections with your target audience. Then, you will be greeted with well-wishes from people you are waiting for. 

Engage with your audience

The simplest method of reaching your audience is through engaging with them. If there is a question you can answer, answer it. An opinion they are asking for? Give your audience. Each time you engage with them you will appear in their notifications. Don’t harass them, but engage with the conversation. Easy to do as a person rather than a brand, because who wants to talk to a company over a person online? It can be done, but only with a certain touch. Miss the mark and you’ll know. 

Notifications aren’t everything 

With the number of disruptions notifications cause many people are moving away from having them active. With Facebook itself implementing a “Quiet Mode” to mute notifications. Notifications are great for some quick attention, but enough of them can turn people away from using your services. An app telling me there is new content every five minutes is going to be muted fast, so why shouldn’t someone constantly appearing in my notifications on social media be any different? Pick your moment and use notifications wisely. If you’re looking for the right strategy, head over to our digital courses and learn social selling the right way. 

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How to Cancel LinkedIn Premium

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There are many reasons why people are looking to cancel LinkedIn premium services on their accounts. However, one key reason that appears more frequently than others is value for money. They just simply aren’t getting the value they are looking for. Which is why we cover how to leverage these tools in our Win Your next Client on LinkedIn Course. Nevertheless here is the set-by-step guide on how to cancel your LinkedIn Premium. 

Canceling your Premium Subscription on Desktop

If you are cancelling your subscription on the desktop version of LinkedIn click on the “Me” icon, your face in the top right of the screen. Then select “Premium Subscription Settings” and navigate to the Manage Premium Account on the right. Click Cancel Subscription and confirm by clicking Continue to cancel. 

Broken down into simple clicks: 

  1. Me (profile photo at the top right)
  2. Premium Subscription Settings
  3. Manage Premium Account 
  4. Cancel Subscription
  5. Continue to cancel. 

You have now cancelled your subscription to LinkedIn Premium. 

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Cancelling Linkedin Premium on iTunes and iOS

Apples account management and user privacy policies don’t allow refunds for purchases made through iTunes, but here is a guide for accessing your subscription settings on iTunes for Desktop. 

First, you need to Download or Open iTunes and sign in. Find “Account” at the top of your screen or in the menu bar and click “View my Account”. Authenticate your Apple ID if necessary, then click view account. On the Account Information page, scroll to the Settings section. On the right of Subscriptions, click Manage. To the right of your LinkedIn Premium subscription, you will see Edit. Click Cancel Subscription at the bottom of the screen and click Confirm. 

Unfortunately, there are no current options to cancel your subscription through an android device or the Lite App directly, so we recommend using the desktop tutorial above. 

What happens next? 

Once you’ve cancelled your Linkedin Premium account your account will reform into the basic free account. You will not lose any of your connections or data. But, you will lose access to premium features such as InMail, Who’s viewed my profile and hit commercial use limit whilst searching for connections. LinkedIn offers a wide range of premium tools such as Premium Career, Sales Navigator, Recruiter Lite, Premium Business and LinkedIn Learning. Each has its unique services which help people achieve different goals around the platform. 

If you’re cancelling your LinkedIn Premium account due to value we highly recommend taking advantage of our online courses. Maximising your use of these tools could completely change how you are currently using LinkedIn and turn your profile into an essential sales tool to grow your business. 

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5 Important Traits You Need To Be a Great Leader

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Being a leader can come naturally to some people, but even then some qualities have to be developed over time. There are some important traits you need to be a great leader. Traits which turn an individual into a driving force for the team. Some of these traits are obvious, but they still need to be considered and built upon every day. Here are 5 important traits you need in order to be a successful leader in your business. 

A Good Listener 

When it comes to listening there can be two types. Taking in and processing information, understanding where it’s coming from and why. Then there is waiting for your time to talk. A great leader doesn’t consider any discussion with the team pointless. You have to ensure you are actively listening to any problems your team may have. What may seem trivial to you could mean the world to someone. Soft skills within the workplace are essential today. So ensure you’re listening properly and giving people your undivided attention. 

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A Positive Mindset 

If you consider your company as your army to march forth into battle an inspiring speech about how you’re going to win is going to work better than a halfhearted whimper. You have to be the beacon of strength and optimism. Yes, this can be extremely tiring and you’re allowed to not feel your best each and every day. But, even in the worst of situations, a great leader can showcase their strength to the team. In extreme cases, a business owner with nothing but bleak thoughts is going to instil nothing but fears of job security. 

An Excellent Communicator

Listening and being an excellent communicator are two very different things. You can be a great communicator whether you are face to face with the people around you or not. Ensure all actions are carefully laid out for your team and avoid any areas of misunderstanding. When gossip spreads around the office it means something is unclear around the office. It’s the leader’s job to dispel the whispers. Communicate clearly the point and how to move forwards. 

The Ability Seek out Potential 

Sometimes the value of a person is only truly seen in tough situations. If you’re always hiring leading experts rather than taking the time to train and build people it means you either don’t know how or believe you don’t have the means to do so. A great leader can see the worth in every person that comes before them. There are no worthless people in the world. There are circumstances, gaps in knowledge and tough mental barriers to break.

Strategy Focused 

Leader’s can see the big picture and spot where the journey is taking them. Being organised and having a strategy can be completely different. You can have everything lined up and clean on your desk or desktop, but without putting the pieces together all you’ve done is arrange them. There is no point in having all the tools available to be successful without a strategy to use them effectively. Great leaders can rally a team for a common cause in the most effective way possible. Bringing out the best in everyone and using that to create a win. 

Motivating and managing people can be tough. We are all inherently different, with different mindsets and circumstances. Yet, we are brought together to achieve a common goal. Whether it’s sales, marketing, security, or any services you can think of, we all want our businesses and team to grow. If you want to be the type of person that everyone looks towards, you need to enhance your soft skills, be strategically focused and have the will to achieve. 

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The Best Way to Increase Your Following on LinkedIn

If you’re looking to make social selling work or become a thought leader on LinkedIn your end goal is probably defined by the numbers. How many connections you have or how much engagement your last post achieved it’s all defined as your online following. So, how do you increase this following and achieve the results you’re looking for? 

Increase Your Output 

To build any audience you need something that draws people in. Whether that’s a person, a long-running series of content or a product. To keep the audience engaged and growing you need to be continuously offering to them. Giving them a reason to follow you through showcasing your value. If you’re creative, and your output is building up art, writing a piece or creating a video over time you can keep your audience’s attention through updates. Then you can release your work to a warm audience eager to see what you’ve been working on. This method can also work with new ventures, rebranding and small businesses can use this to document their journey. It adds an extra level of authenticity and the realisation that the journey matters when it comes to your audience. 

Breakthrough Your comfort zone

If you’re going to get started with your following you’ll need to break through your comfort zone and start reaching people. This could mean reaching out to build up your connections or engaging with content and discussions. It’s almost impossible to gain real traction on LinkedIn without a little give-and-take engagement. Unless you’ve achieved some form of notability elsewhere you’re not going to immediately see thousands of views on every post. A few one-hit wonders may make you feel on top of the world for a moment, but that’s not a following. That’s one glimmer of what a real following can achieve. 

The Strength of Compound Action 

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A simple action over time can yield some amazing results, and that’s how you should view your presence online. There are methods and strategies to achieve some great results from day one, but for a real highly engaged following you need a lot of time to build yourself up. If you post every day, engage with everyone and put yourself in your audiences lives every day you will fall into their lives effortlessly. As long as some value is there in the relationship, no matter if it’s at a distance, those simple actions over time will achieve results. 

Do Not Take People for Granted

This is where most of us can go wrong when it comes to LinkedIn. We’ve networked, we’ve posted and engaged and unfortunately begun coasting. If your content becomes stale or you post-sales posts every day the engagement will fall and your audience will soon drop off. Posting every day for months can be tiring and inspiration can waiver. It’s inevitable. When those slumps hit you have to own them. Let people know how you’re feeling and move forwards. The worst thing you can do is continuously take the low-effort path. When you accept what’s happened, and battle through it you will increase your following instead of witnessing the death of your profile. 

The best way to increase your following on LinkedIn is by offering continuous value to your target audience. Getting started can be tough, but with a little bit of motivation every day, anyone can establish and build a strong following online. 

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Why You Need to Stop Selling Your Services

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We all want to sell our products and services. We want them to sell so much we spend thousands on hiring experts, advertising and social selling data. Now of course I’m using the collective “we” being businesses across the world. More customers means greater revenue and more opportunities. But, you should stop selling your services. Not altogether, just the method you are using right now. I’ll tell you why. 

Take a look at your current sales method… 

When you outright promote a product or service, where and how do you do it? Do you post on social media to the world and hope something trickles through? Or do you send targeted emails one after another from a trusted list of prospects? What most expert salespeople will tell you is timing is everything. You want to send an email that will be opened. You want to catch that CEO in his office on the phone. So, getting your message seen is priority number one isn’t it? 

Wrong.

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Your message is just as important as the method

You could have a million people look at your sales post and a fraction of them will look further. To make that fraction an impressive figure you have to get the message right. Stop selling your services as they are. Start selling your services in what solution they hold. If you simply promote your services by spelling out what it does, you’re limiting your audience by making them connect the dots themselves. The failings of this method are even more apparent when it comes to sectors which many people don’t have an intensive understanding, such as cybersecurity or finance. 

Let’s compare two phrases: 

  • My cybersecurity application blocks calls
  • Are you having troubles with nuisance calls? This application can immediately remove them. 

The first statement is simple. It tells us what the application does, but doesn’t tell us why we need that feature in the first place. You could add “protects your phone by blocking calls”, but that doesn’t go far enough in letting the audience know why it’s an appealing feature. 

By first raising the problem of having nuisance calls you’ve set up your problem, then by explaining what the application does to solve the problem you are selling its abilities. It’s the solution to all your phone-call problems. What this also achieves is highlighting a problem which the client may not know they have until it’s addressed. The stone in your shoe doesn’t bother you all the time, but if you know it’s there it can become an unavoidable pain. 

Now this doesn’t mean you can’t sell your services. This means you shouldn’t sell your services as they come out of the box. Delve deeper into the solutions your service holds. If you need help unlocking that potential solution we’ve got several products on the Maverrik store that can help you.

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Selling

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When you boil down social selling, what you are trying to achieve is a strategy that has consistent success. It’s your killer pitch, your reliable data pool and something your business can rely on. However, certain pitfalls can slow everything down and throw your strategy out the window. Here are a few simple mistakes you need to stop making when it comes to social selling. Along with a few helpful tips to get you going. 

Mistake #1 You don’t have a strategy at all 

Social Selling isn’t simply broadcasting on social media and hoping for the best. This method dries up extremely fast if you just randomly send out sales messages without increasing your prospects, engaging with them or even talking to them without pushing for a sale. You have to set up your approach. You wouldn’t wing-it when it comes to selling to a major company, and social selling has that same potential. 

Tip #1 Expand your pool 

This tip is a no-brainer, but a lot of us can forget that the constant growth of your prospects is a requirement for continued sales. You can’t sell to the same client forever, no matter the longevity of your product or service. That killer contract could be a timebomb if your entire business depends on just one renewal. Who wants to live in that constant fear? No one. 

Mistake #2 You don’t value your leads time 

When you send an email on a Friday afternoon you understand that the person on the other side might not respond straight away. There are more people online at any given time than ever before, but that doesn’t mean they are always looking at their phones. So give people time to respond before the follow-up. Not giving people time to think only leads to frustration not sales. 

Tip #2 Create Engagement 

One of the most important aspects of social selling is the underlying rule that people are more likely to buy from those they know and trust. This trust can be created and nurtured through social media engagement. This means posting content that your audience sees everyday, so after some time they understand who you are and what you’re about. 

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Mistake #3 Telling people their problems 

There is nothing worse than false assumptions. Even if they aren’t assumptions at all no one likes to feel like they are failing. If you explicitly highlight a client’s problems there is a chance you will push their buttons with something they already know. Pride can also get in the way of this. More often not not, the person wouldn’t have noticed the problem act as if they did. To save face, they will fix the problem elsewhere. What you can do to circumvent this mistake is let them know what your company is working on… the solution to their problem. 

Tip #3 Have Genuine faith in your product 

Confidence isn’t just found in face to face communication. You can show confidence through a few things online. The speed of your replies and the choice of words you use can tell a lead a lot about your service. They might have special circumstances that need to be flushed out, but if you can’t simply say “yes, this is a great product”. You may as well not start the conversation at all. 

Hopefully, these tips will help inspire you to refine your social selling strategy, but if you need more help head over to our shop for full courses on how to build up your social selling empire. 

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