Successful Door-To-Door Sales

Summer and fall months are a prime time to utilize door-to-door sales tactics.  The weather is nicer, there are more daylight hours and households are more likely to stay up later, giving you the opportunity to present your sales case.  Additionally, you have the ability to meet your customer face-to-face, demonstrate your product and its advantages, and the added benefit of creating face recognition.   However, just like any sales tactic, there are many things to take into consideration and prepare for prior to getting started, and we’re here to help you put your best foot forward before you start ringing doorbells.

PERFECT PITCH

Door-to-door sales can easily be compared to those dreaded public speaking classes you took in school.  But, preparation and practice are all you need to have the confidence to sell.  First, know your product inside and out, and how it compares to other like products on the market.  This will ensure that you will have answers to any questions, and lets your potential customer see that you are the expert, thus giving them the trust they need to purchase from you.  Additionally, you will be prepared for any bumps in the road and any unforeseen instances that occur.  Second, practice, practice, practice!  The more you know exactly how you will approach a customer, the easier and less stressful your sales pitch will be for you.  It may be easiest to practice in front of a mirror, that way you can see how you appear to your potential customer, and change points in your pitch that may not come across like you hoped.  The combination of preparing yourself ahead of time and practice will give you all the confidence you need to successfully sell.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING…

…and, I mean this in more than one way.  In advance, think about the time you will start knocking on doors.  Monday mornings are more than likely not the best option, as people may be on their way to work, dropping kids off at daycare or running errands leftover from the weekend.  Try researching the neighborhood ahead of time, and note which homes have cars, and seeing who may be home during the day versus at night.  Additionally, think about this as an opportunity to set a future appointment instead of selling.  This will do two things: you will be able to prepare a meeting with the customer, and know that they are more than just a cold lead, as well as relieve the customer of any pressure of making a decision on the spot.  It will also make you look very courteous, with the customer knowing that you were mindful of their time.

Another thing to think about regarding time: how much time you need to spend with each household in order to meet your sales goals.  Whether you want to make one sale a week or day, knowing how many houses you need to reach each day will give you a realistic target and will teach you how to manage your time with each home.

TRIAL AND ERROR

When getting started, it is possible that the first 25 to 50 homes will include a lot of trial and error.  That’s okay!  However, make note of what works and what doesn’t, so you can change your game plan for future sales opportunities.  Just remember to sell confidently and be flexible with your plans, and you can expect success to come along.

What are your door-to door tips and tricks of the trade?  What do you suggest for first-timers?  Comment below so we can help everyone out with their sales plan!

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THREE LINKEDIN FEATURES YOU SHOULD BE USING

Upon creating your LinkedIn account and looking around, it is not difficult to understand how you can feel overwhelmed and bombarded with a plethora of information and news.  However, once you get through all the noise, there are a few features you may want to think about enabling to enhance your LinkedIn page.

1. BLOG RSS FEED

With this feature, you are able to add your blog updates via an RSS feed.  This simple and easy to use tool allows you to promote your blog content to all visitors who visit your page.   Keep in mind that you will need to ensure you update your blog with fresh content regularly – an out-of-date and flat news feed will show that you haven’t put any effort into your blog, and will reduce your creditability.

To enable this feature, click the dropdown menu next to ‘’Admin Tools’’ for your page’s “Overview” tab.  You will then scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your blog’s RSS feed information.

2. PRODUCTS AND SERVICES TAB

This feature offered by LinkedIn allows you to highlight and promote the products and services your company offers.  You can also use this same feature to advertise webinars, add videos, upload marketing and training materials and introduce new products and services.  Another beneficial feature of the Products and Services Tab is that it allows you to create up to 30 different landing pages to drive and target a specific audience.  You can create parameters based on the company size, job function, geography and more, which is perfect for those businesses who have different business segments marketed to different audiences.

Since this feature in more in depth, you can get more information on how to set up by accessing your LinkedIn account and visiting the Help Section.

3. RECOMMENDATIONS

One of the best ways to generate business, especially for the local retailer, is by recommendations.  You enable this feature in conjunction with your Products and Services Tab so that your customers now have the opportunity to recommend the products and services you offer to other LinkedIn users.  This will not only build your credibility, but also increase your LinkedIn following, in turn, making you the expert in your area.

Again, this feature is more in depth, so you can get more information on setting this up on your LinkedIn account by visiting the Help Section on LinkedIn.

There are a handful of useful features offered on LinkedIn, so take some time to sift through all the information and set up your account so it best promotes your business.  And, stay tuned for updates to the DOW Electronics LinkedIn page!

What features do you use on LinkedIn?  What works for your business?  Comment below with your suggestions.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CUSTOMER LOYALTY PROGRAMS

These days, customer loyalty and rewards programs are all the rage for all types of businesses.  From offering BOGO’s (buy one, get one free), free shipping and points for future items, these types of programs not only compensate your customer for purchasing products through you, they can also keep your customer base coming back for more and for a longer period of time.

However, many businesses fall flat with these types of programs by not planning and executing properly.  The bottom line is that you should look at this program as enhancing your customers’ experience and always strive to put their needs first.  Whether you start your own ‘VIP Club’ or ‘Rewards-style’ program, we’re here to help with our list of dos, don’ts and examples of how to start rewarding your customers today.

THE DO’S

  • Set parameters for your rewards based on what’s best for your business.  While for online companies, offering a free shipping reward is a great way to get people to order, this may not be your best reward if you have a substantial amount of foot traffic.  Additionally, set parameters based on how much a customer spends or how often they purchase, creating tiered levels of rewards, and giving your most loyal customers a special level of service.
  • Strive to build lasting relationships with your loyalty programs.  Engage your customers by giving them rewards they truly want, will use or will benefit from.
  • Think about your budget.  Starting a rewards program could get expensive if you don’t plan properly, so always track your budget on costs for the rewards.  This will allow you to calculate your Return on Investment to see which rewards work best, which don’t work and what you can change within your program to make it a better fit for you and your customers.
  • Track your customers’ purchasing habits.   By tracking what a customer purchases, you can offer them a reward that will truly help them.  For example, if they purchase two of a specific item at once, they get 50% off the third, or a discount on purchases of 10 or more of an item.  Additionally, if you see that a handful of customers purchase very little, offer a small discount to entice them to purchase more frequently.
  • Clearly state the parameters of your program to all customers and keep the process simple.  Make sure all users know how they obtain rewards or points by providing a handout of the guidelines.  Also, by creating a simple process for access to program rewards and account information, you are more like to run the program properly and have more users.
  • Partner with other businesses.  For example, if you hold an open-house event for VIP clients, partner with the catering service for discounts on your products and their services.

THE DON’TS

  • Don’t use a ‘one-size fits all’ model for your rewards program.  Tailor each reward or provide options that customers will find usable that way they will be happy with the reward they receive, and will be more likely to continue to purchase from you again.  Think outside the box, and keep in mind what will benefit your customer the most.
  • Don’t just give stuff away, or give your customer leftovers from an event.  They will not appreciate the reward, nor will they be enticed to purchase more.
  • Don’t make it difficult to sign up for your program.  Offering the ability to easily sign up by registering their email address with the first purchase is a quick way to get all of your customers started.
  • Don’t make rewards impossible to obtain.  If your customer has to spend $10,000 at your store to receive a $20.00 coupon, chances are you will never have anyone actually receive a reward, which completely defeats the purpose.  Think like PetCo – for every $100.00 you spend, you earn a $5.00 coupon to be used on anything at their store.  The reward level is easily reached, and the reward is completely fair for all users.

HOW TO START REWARDING:

Even with a small budget, here are some ways for you to start testing what loyalty program works best for you:

  • Celebrate with your customers by offering a small discount during the month of their birthday.
  • Offer additional services, such as product warranties, with little mark-up.
  • Reward referrals to your business by offering a coupon or discount.
  • Upgrade shipping with a specific purchase amount.
  • Offer your VIP customers a free preview night, or open house, in which they will be the first to see your new products.
  • Notify those in your rewards program of sales early so they can get a head start on shopping.
  • Have your customers create a ‘Wish List’ and when they reach a specific amount of purchases, you surprise them with a free gift.

Remember, the end goal of a loyalty program is to build a two-way relationship that benefits both users, so think about what your customers really want, and you’ll see the gains from increased sales and profits.

Have any questions about customer loyalty programs, or have any advice or ideas to share?  Comment below with your questions, or call 1.800.627.2920 or email adv@DOWElectronics.com to talk with our dedicated marketing team!

5 SOCIAL MEDIA TERMS YOU NEED TO KNOW

Social media can be overwhelming and difficult to keep pace with – it is constantly changing and your audience has the potential to be huge, so not knowing what you’re doing, or what you are talking about, leaves you with the chance of looking confused to the entire world.  Don’t sweat – we’ve got a list of the most basic terms and how they pertain to your business.

PLATFORM – a platform is any system that manages content.  For example, the DOW Electronics’ blog platform is WordPress, which hosts an entire community of blogs.  This is important to know because each platform will have its own rules and regulations about what you can and can’t post, so make sure you read each prior to getting started.  Additionally, each platform has its own advantages to reaching your audience to give them the information they want.  For example, Facebook and Twitter are great for posting new sales information, promotions, and behind the scenes pictures, while a blog is best for showing off your expertise, so use each platform differently to ensure you gain the most.  This means you will need to post different types of content on each, and will take a little extra planning.

MICROBLOGGING – microblogging is the posting of short messages on a social media account.  These include Tweets on Twitter, Status Updates on Facebook, and comments on any given social media platform.  Microblogs are great because they promote the sharing of knowledge, networking, and intelligent conversation between individuals interested in the same topic.  While you may not think these are really important since they take little thought or preparation time, you need to put in the planning time to post something that your audience will get value from.  You also want to make sure you never post anything that is offensive or something that can be misinterpreted.  These comments can still be found by a search engine, and the last thing you want to do is generate a negative position about your brand.

HASHTAG – a hashtag is the symbol ‘#’ followed by a series of words or characters.  Messages that have the same hashtags are then grouped together to show you what is currently trending in social media.  For example, at DISH’s Team Summit this year, when posting to Twitter, the hashtag #TS2013 was used to group all like pictures and tweets in the same category.  Additionally, Facebook just recently added the functionality of the hashtag on its platform, so you will see these popping up in your news feed, with a link to click to see who else is posting about the same topic.  If a specific hashtag pertains to you or your business, go ahead and microblog about it – your brand will gain attention for staying on top of current ideas and events.

TRANSPARENCY – transparency is the act of engaging in considerate and courteous conversations with all users on any given platform.  Each and every platform that allows user content to be shared will have a transparency policy set in place, and repercussions can include blocked or deactivated profiles, so always think about the end result since you do not want to post anything that is offensive to any of the other users.  The main goal of social media is to share ideas and generate new beliefs via collective genius, and this is something you should aspire to do in every day social media use.

GOING VIRAL – going viral, or virality, is the rate in which content is passed along on any platform.  YouTube is a great example for thinking about virality.  This is the ultimate goal for any social media user – the faster your content goes viral, the more press and attention you are likely to receive.  However, there is a fine line, as you want to make sure your content goes viral for the right reasons, so make sure to have a sharp eye on all your posts.  When thinking about viral content, it is good to create a mix of useful information with lighthearted humor to engage your audience.

Now, it is important to remember these are the very basics, and since each platform changes each day, you need to make an effort to stay up-to-date with how each will affect your content and pages.

What confuses you about social media?  If there are any topics you need assistance with, just leave a comment below and the DOW Electronics team will be happy to help!

Event Hosting 101

Summertime has arrived – and that means plenty of events, socials and fairs for you to participate in and market your business.  But, there is another option – hosting your own event!  When you host an event, you are in the driver’s seat, ensuring everything fits your needs, from schedule, budget and the overall success of the event.

However, as with anything, there is a correct way of putting together an event so that you get the most rewards from your time.  Whether it’s planning ahead or selecting the best event location, follow these tips to ensure your event-hosting is a true success story!

Location, Location, Location

The first option to host your event is obvious: your store front!  Not only will people already know where it is located, it will allow your company to remain consistently branded since you will be at a location that is only associated with your business.  But, take a step back and ask yourself a couple of questions: does my store front location get a lot of traffic?  Are the people stopping by inquiring about new services?  If the answer is no, you might want to partner up with another local business that does get a lot of consumer traffic to help you host your event.  Consider having it at a local pet store and having a ‘Dog Days of Summer’ event or at a local mall or shop where you know there will be a lot of people coming in and out.  You can also see if your location partner will assist with an incentive for your customers for each sale made, like gift cards or a discount on purchases.

Plan (and Budget) Ahead

One of the biggest mistakes we often see in the DOW Electronics’ Marketing and Advertising Department is not planning or budgeting ahead.  Before you get the ball rolling, take a minute (or a few) to write down everything you will need to account for with your event materials and budget.  Items you may not account for, like food and drinks, promotional items, nametags, event advertising and signage, are all vital to the success of any event and can cost extra if you procrastinate, so account for everything.  And, if you are having a family-focused event, make sure to have some games, and small promotional items that won’t break the bank and will keep the attention of children.  The planning and budgeting will help you in the long run – on the day of the event you will be fully prepared and focused on selling, and afterwards, you can provide true tracking on cost-per-sale to determine the success of your event.

Advertising is a MUST

In planning, advertising your event is a must!  Print and radio are great options for you to get the word out that you are hosting an event, but why not send out an invitation?  Get a list of all your potential and current clients, or those former clients you are trying to bring back to the store, and personally invite them!  Whether it’s an email blast, a physical invitation or a video invitation on YouTube, your invitees will appreciate the personal touch and are more likely to attend.  Other ways to let your community know about your event include submitting a press release, inviting a radio or television station to do a live remote at your event, and social media.

Remember, hosting your own event has endless advantages, so make sure you utilize your time and efforts to receive the maximum benefits from your event.  With most of your work falling within the planning phase, it will take a little extra time to make sure all aspects are accounted for, but will pay off in the long run!  And, don’t forget to contact the DOW Electronics’ Marketing and Advertising Department to submit your event and advertising for co-op preapproval, or for help with event items such as tents, banners and promotional giveaways.  We are here to assist you with all your event and advertising needs and can be reached at 1.800.627.2920 or by emailing adv@dowelectronics.com

What are your event hosting tips?  What works best for your business?  We want to know – comment and share with the DOW Electronics Marketing and Advertising Department!

QR Codes and Your Business

The QR, or quick response, code is popping up more each day, and has quickly become a huge trend in today’s marketing.  But, if you don’t know the best way to get started and use them in your marketing, you’ll be lost, so we’ve done the research to help you utilize them to grow your business.

The Basics

The QR Code is essentially a more complex bar code.  A bar code only stores price and product info, is one-dimensional and can only be scanned by a laser scanner.  A QR code is two-dimensional, can be scanned with any scanner with an imaging device, such as a smart phone camera, and can link to any type of information, like videos, maps, contact info and more.

There are a number of free sites that will allow you to create and track your QR code. The ones with the best ratings are www.QRStuff.com, www.GoQR.me and www.QRMobilize.com (plus, many more).  They all offer different options as to what the codes can link to, and some even offer free website mobilization which is crucial.  I would suggest checking out a few options to determine which one best fits your needs.  Also, don’t shy away from using a paid site, which will offer advanced options.  The extra money spent and advanced options in tracking and mobile assistance may be your best option in helping you facilitate and determine the success of your campaign.

Best Practices

Now that you know how to set up your QR codes, it’s time to review the dos and don’ts of utilizing the codes in your advertising.

  1. Mobile Sites: it’s always important to remember to connect your code to a mobile optimized site.  Your potential customers will be scanning these with their smart phones and mobile devices, so connecting them to a full web page will be a logistical nightmare.  When prepping your mobile site, plan something small, like a landing page with opt-in information, instructions, promotions or a video instead of your full informational site.
  2. Size and Space Matters: when planning the usage of your QR code, think about how your users will scan it.  Putting it on your billboard, or on the side of the bus are probably not your best options – how will your potential customers scan them when the bus moves, or when in a moving car?  Magazines, newspapers, flyers and posters are much better options, as your customer will have more opportunity to pull out their device and scan your promotion.  And remember to keep the QR code in proportion to your ad, but large enough for a scanner to read.
  3. Call to Action: one of the biggest mistakes made is that when using a QR code, there is no call to action.  Always place a small line or sentence identifying what the user stands to gain from scanning – it can be as easy as ‘Scan Here for Troubleshooting Information” – so the customer knows what to expect beforehand.

Practical Uses for Your Business

The best part of QR codes is that their uses are virtually endless, and we’ve already thought of a few great options for you to get started using them to grow your business today:

  • Include with new equipment purchases and have the code link to installation instructions or troubleshooting questions.
  • On marketing materials with directions to your location, or special promotional and sales information.
  • Print a QR code on adhesive Avery labels and cover the bar codes for any products, this way customers can’t scan the bar code and find a lower price elsewhere.  You can include anything from sales and contact information to product reviews.
  • Print on the back of your business cards and it will automatically include your contact information in their phone.
  • Include on signage for any special event you will be participating in or hosting, with information on your location within the event, giveaways or add the event to their personal calendar.
  • Include on your advertising in magazines and newspapers with a link to testimonials

Now you are ready to get started.  If you have any questions on using QR codes for your business, feel free to call the DOW Electronics’ Marketing Department and we’ll be more than happy to assist you.  Or, if you are already using QR codes in your advertising, comment with your suggestions and examples below!

Social Media + Lead Generation On the Spot!

So you’ve set up some snazzy Facebook and Twitter profiles, but you just aren’t gaining a following. What do you do? Well, as I’ve told you before, social media takes time and patience, but don’t get discouraged– a Twitter star is not made overnight. However, I recently stumbled upon a new iPad app that will help you gain fans and followers and generate some email leads for your mailing lists!

What is it?
It’s called OnSpot Social, and it works by engaging your customers while they are in your showroom (or kiosk or event booth) and getting them to follow your social media pages or provide their email right there on the spot– hence the name. There’s no need for your customer to pull out his smart phone to log into his Facebook app and you don’t have to hope he remembers your twitter handle when he logs on at home later tonight because you have an iPad set up in your showroom where he can simply type in his information and automatically follow you.

How Does it Work?
You simply download the app to your iPad* and configure it for your business with a theme and your company logo. You can choose to allow people to connect to you through Facebook, Twitter, and Email, or any combination of the three. You can even offer a special incentive for those who provide you with an email address or connect to one of your social networks! I like that the user interface is on the simple side. There’s no clutter on the screen to distract your customers, no games to play or websites to visit. People can get in and out quickly allowing the next customer to connect and eliminating the chance for any one person to monopolize your iPad.

*Sorry android users, the app is only on iPads right now. I am told, however, that the developers would consider making an android version if the demand is high enough. I suggest letting them know on twitter @OnSpotSocial 🙂

Is this for me?
OnSpot Social could be a great tool for just about any kind of business, but the integration of tablet computer technology into the lead collection process makes this tool the perfect fit for the consumer electronics and satellite sales industries– your customers will see that you are in tune with the latest technology and they will be excited to join you on the social web. Who doesn’t have a Facebook account, and more importantly, who can resist a touch screen?! Your customers need not be concerned about their privacy, none of their information is stored when they use this app. It also frees up your time so that you can collect contact information from one customer while simultaneously giving your sales pitch to another. This comes in really handy on a high traffic day or if you’re short-handed at your event or kiosk. Those few minutes you used to spend filling out a lead form can now be used for active selling– let your sales people sell and let the app take down leads.

How Much Does It Cost?
The OnSpot Social app is a free download from the App Store, however, the free version of the app is basically just a digital sign. In order to use the features discussed above, you have to choose a subscription plan: $25/week, $125/6 months, or $175 for a year. I know we all love the free stuff, but this is one place where your investment could really pay off. If you break the fee down, the one year plan is less than $15 per month– not a whole lot. If you think of it in terms of cost per lead, even if you retrieve only one lead per month through this app you are still getting a bargain. And I know that a lot of you who participate in events frequently can gather way more than one lead per month on this thing without even trying! Just think about how much your cost per call is on a direct mail campaign or a print ad and you will see that the fee here is pretty minimal. Just make sure that you actually have the app set up in plain sight and that you are directing people to use it. If you don’t, then why bother spending the money?

An additional cost to consider is securing your technology. The website offers iPad enclosures and stands so you don’t have to worry about anyone walking away with your tablet.

The Takeaway
While this is a really great innovation in lead collection, it’s all useless if you don’t take those leads and do something with them. At the very least you should be following up via email, phone, or mail… or better yet, a combination of the three! Make sure that you are adding all of the leads that you collect to your email newsletter recipients (and if you don’t have a newsletter, you should really consider starting one– but that’s another post). Provide fresh and interesting updates to your social networks to keep your new Facebook and twitter followers coming back for more. Remember that these are people who have freely given you their contact information and are now expecting you to get in touch– they are inviting you to sell them something. So take them up on the invitation, get in contact, and show them what you’ve got to offer!

How do you gather leads? How do you use them? Let us know in the comments!

Get Something for your Giveaway

We often refer to promotional items as “giveaways,” but should we really be giving them away to just anyone who walks by? Too often, people forget that there is a purpose to these items. They are meant to bring people into your booth, to generate leads, and to create awareness of your brand or company. By setting out a bin of free key chains or handing out a personalized pen to anyone who comes within range, you are really just telling people that they can come to your booth to get something for nothing. 

This method of distributing your “free” goods is not particularly effective. You shouldn’t just stand back and allow people to come by for a free item and then just walk away. Instead, stand out in front of your booth and greet them as they walk by. Let these people know about your business and what you can do for them! After a brief and  friendly exchange, you then hand the passerby your promotional item and let them walk away with a physical reminder of your business and a positive memory of the exchange that just took place. They will remember you each time they use the item, making chances greater that they will become your customer in the future.

Here’s another alternative to giving away these items at random: make a trade! Have them fill out a lead form for your personalized magnet (or keychain, or hand sanitizer, or T-shirt). When purchasing promotional items to distribute to potential customers, you should expect a return on that investment in the form of leads and, eventually, in sales. Once again, the potential customer has a tangible reminder of you and your business, and with a personalized item they will have your contact information at their fingertips. Not only do they have your information, but you now have theirs and can take the initiative to follow upon the lead after the event is over. 

The key to using giveaway items effectively is to not simply give them away for nothing in return. This doesn’t mean that you should demand that passersby make a purchase on the spot or provide you with personal information, but you should be implementing lead generation tactics with these items. Think outside the box with your promotional items. Will a simple balloon distract a child long enough so you can tell their parents about your business? Is a keychain enough, or will it take something more innovative to draw in the kind of people who will be interested in your product? Think about the audience you want to attract and select promotional items to cater to their needs or to compliment your product or service. Using promotional items isn’t complicated. By putting a little thought into the items you’ll bring, who you want to give them to, and what you want in return for them, you can make sure to get a return on the investment that you put into those items!

How do you distribute event giveaways? What items are crowd favorites? Tell us in the comments!

Springtime Means Event Time!

Image: Anita Martinz

It’s Springtime and we all know that means there are great opportunities to get out and promote your products, services, and your business at local events! Fairs, home shows, and community events are a great way to generate leads and interest in you as a local retailer. That being said, we have decided to put together a blog series outlining some tips and tricks for participating in events. From finding event opportunities in your area to choosing the right event representatives to run your booth, we’ll be covering all there is to know about bringing your business out for a day in the sun.

I encourage all of you to try out many different forms of advertising, and many of you already know what works for you and what doesn’t. Events are one of those things that can work for anyone as long as you have the right attitude and are ready to tell the public about your business face to face. The beauty of marketing your business at an event as opposed to other tactics is that the potential customer gets to meet with you (or your carefully chosen event rep) in person and get to know you and your business. This is something that a print ad or even a TV spot can’t achieve. You have the opportunity to make a connection with the public, and people want to make purchases from someone who they know and trust.

Not only do you have the opportunity to generate leads through a personal connection, but you also have the added bonus of being able to demonstrate your product to the customer on the spot. Being able to put the product into the hands of a potential customer is a powerful thing. Sure, this happens in your showroom, but you have to rely on the customers to come to you for that. When you participate in an event, you are bringing your product to the customer where they already are– no extra effort on their part required.

If you’re just getting started and have yet to participate in a local event or even if you’re a seasoned trade show pro, you’ll be sure to find something in our upcoming series that you can put to use for your business. So stay tuned to this blog over the next few weeks, break out the tent, balloons, and signage and join the crowd at the many spring and summer worthy events coming your way this season!

Where will we see your business this Spring and Summer? Let us know in the comments below!