I am constantly surprised at the number of small business owners who do not use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. And I think I know the answer why.
You start by building out your prospects in your contacts and mailing list. The initial response rate is small. You respond as needed. As you grow however it begins to get unwieldy. The conversations get harder to remember. Someone suggests that you get a CRM. You start to do your homework. Ugg! So many choices and most are costly. Your head hurts. You have to figure out what it is, how to use it and which one to use. You procrastinate. You convince yourself you do not need a CRM.
But know this:
A good CRM will:
1. Not Be Expensive
2. Assist you with Building Deep Long Lasting Client Relationships
3. Help You Track, Manage and Close more Leads with Ease
Every business should use a CRM. EVERY BUSINESS!!! So let’s say for example that you are a Consultant. You are building a business from the ground up. You are likely doing another job as well. The only way you can do this successfully is to be very very organized. A good CRM is critical to your future success. Most are on Software as A Service “on the cloud” which means you can access them anywhere. This means you can now make use of small bits of time to keep up these records so at your lunch hour, in between calls, while you are waiting to pick up your kids from wherever.
When I say any business I do mean any business! That means B2C as well. Do you own a Florist Shop, Massage Business, Catering Service or Hair Salon? What better way to keep track of specific preferences after each visit? Wouldn’t it be nice to track your clients preferences, birthdays and entice them to buy more?
And you can use it to stay in touch perhaps once a month and write with a personal and specific message. For example:
“Hey Ivana, I noticed you haven’t been in for a massage in the last six months. Everything OK? I miss you! I’d like to offer you a coupon to get you back with us.”
As you get more comfortable with the CRM you can create personalized messages. You can offer them links to photo on your Facebook, Pinterest etc.. to get them more fully engaged as a customer.
The point here is that it is called a Customer Relationship Management Tool for a very good reason. Few people fall in love at first sight, most people don’t ask someone to be their best friend… it just happens, over time, and share experiences. The same goes for your customers. You should want to create a feeling that you as the service provider are someone who respects them, who is there to improve their lives, provide great service and perhaps offer joy and laughter. Sure you can do it each time they walk in the door but you can do more faster and build a much stronger relationship in the long run by using a CRM.
Many small business start-ups do not use CRMs. They rely on their contact and mailing lists. They transfer information into their calendars (if they remember to do this.) Over time this can get confusing and difficult to organize. You not only lose time. You lose sales.
Stop procrastinating. You are leaving dollars on the table. Hate to sell? A good CRM is a natural relationship builder. It lends itself to a softer, friendlier, more natural approach to relationship selling. You use your CRM to capture prospect interests and interactions over time. You will have gathered all contact information (website, Twitter, email, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest).
Selling Power magazine said that 81 percent of sales calls close after the fifth sales call. So if face-to-face sales calls take that amount of time, getting a prospect to speak with you could also take that long or longer. It can take up to a year of calls and emails to make a sale over the phone. Record keeping is critical. This is why a CRM is essential to your success. It is hands down the best way to track interactions.
Now you are not forced to push product. You have gathered and recorded enough information in conversations and by checking their social media to have more pointed conversation. “ I liked your comment on Twitter last week about…” “I see that you use FB to market your business. Can you tell me…?” “Happy Birthday.” You can do this because you will be capturing all of this information in your CRM. You are calling on routine basis because each time you call you note in your CRM the date of your next call and place a reminder on the calendar to track that and ping you.
Remember … most people do not buy until you have spoken to them at least five times. Most salespeople never even make a second call. That is the number one reason that sales people fail! A good CRM will help you organize your work, make calls with a doable routine, gather information on prospects that allow you to build a relationship instead of pushing product.
Name: Jeanne Burns
About: Jeanne Burns is a sales pro with a BA in English. She writes successful presentations, contracts and proposals primarily in the Tech Field. She also ghost blogs, writes copy and product reviews. Jeanne's past clients include Intuit, Verizon, Morgan Lewis, the State of New York and University of Pittsburgh. She possesses the strategic ability to solve client problems and increase sales. Jeanne produces results with her concise compelling content.