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1 14-Oct-2017 Useful Tips On How To Boost End-Of-Year Sales With Social Media
As the year winds down, many business owners and managers are thinking of how to cash in on end-of-year sales. Edem Kodjo is not an exception. An “old school” folk, he used posters, handbills and word-of-mouth to announce his end-of-year sales promotions in his shoe boutique in the last few years.

His success has been largely limited as local government council regulations about cleaner environment have reduced where he can paste his posters or share his handbills. He has also recently noticed that young customers who are his target are increasingly migrating to the social media. 

Before launching his sales promotion campaign this year, Edem spoke with a friend, who shared with him an advice he had read in a special publication online: 

 Social media allows salespeople to see what prospects are saying about their brand and competitors. You can really get to know a customer’s needs through social listening. It’s a great way to research a market and initiate conversation leading to a sale, regular or end-of-year.

Not only can social listening help you generate new leads, but it also allows you to build deeper relationships with existing clients that drives them to purchase again and again.

The biggest sales have come from salespeople using Twitter to find opportunities and LinkedIn to find the names of the true buyers inside organizations.

Facebook and blog platforms have proven to be essential for salespeople, as well.

Someone selling digital scrapbooking software and supplies, for example, can connect with his or her customers on Facebook and through a blog where they can share project ideas and digital photo advice. 

So how can you use social media to make sales, especially this end-of-year?

Step No. 1: Determine the best way to connect with prospects

Social media is a smart selling tool only if your clients and prospects are using social media. It’s a huge waste of your time if your clients are spending their time elsewhere.

But if you learn they are indeed using popular sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you need to determine which space is best for connecting and interacting with them.

Facebook is one of the best arenas for business to consumer sales.

It’s also important for brands to consider tools like Instagram and Pinterest along with their Facebook strategy to increase visibility and sales. LinkedIn is the appropriate platform for sales of business-to-business products or services. LinkedIn is a more professional networking environment, so this is the right place to connect with people at big corporations that might be interested in your product or service.

Step No. 2: Join a community and create a persona

It starts by spending some time with the tool you plan to use. Build up a personal account, have conversations, and become acquainted with the norms and expectations of the community.

Without misrepresenting yourself, create a persona that’s likable and trustworthy within that community. If I think you’re a jerk when I see you on a social media site, I’m not going to do business with you. If you comment a lot to get people to go to your site, I’m not going to listen to you. You can’t abuse or misuse social media.

Show your network that you’re an amiable, trustworthy resource.
2 07-Oct-2017 How To Know If Your Social Media Strategy Is Working
Since she launched her clothes selling business two years ago, Chioma Ebube has tried all sorts of social media “tricks” to help create awareness, and hopefully, improve sales. 

She is on Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and even Snapchat. At the onset it seemed to be working well, but in recent times, her enthusiasm has waned with falling traffic to her multiple platforms. 

Now, she is at a crossroads. If, like Chioma, you’ve written out your social media strategy with the steps you’ll take and the goals you want to achieve, how do you determine the impact you’re having?

These are just five of the many ways you can determine your strategy’s impact.

1. Vanity Metrics

While they’re not the highlight of your results, vanity metrics can help you quickly and easily see whether your activity is working. When you gain fans and followers, see more “Likes,” “favorites,” “shares,” and “re-tweets,” you can tell that what you’re publishing is drawing in interest.

Measure these metrics, and keep an eye on what types of content you’re sharing is bringing in the most interaction. You’ll learn what content works best and what period has the most activity.

2. Sales

After sharing on social media, ask your sales department staff whether they see an increase in activity on their end. Request they reach out to interested parties, asking how the person found out about your company.

If you learn that new customers are reaching out based on your social media activity, you’ll have evidence that your strategy is working, and your sales staff will appreciate it.

3. Website Traffic
 
Do you use Google Analytics to measure your website activity? Did you know this service can show you how social media plays a role in your website traffic?
In Google Analytics, you can set it up so you can see where your traffic is coming from. If you have visitors coming directly from your social media accounts, you’ll know that they were interested in you based on your activity.

4. Workload
 
Although you might question whether this is a good thing, you will see an increase in your workload if your social strategy is working.
More users will want to reach out to you on social media, you’ll have a bigger audience to respond to and interact with. You might even need to hire more staff to handle this workload - but that’s a good thing.

A larger workload means a higher interaction rate with your social presence. A higher interaction rate means your strategy is working.

5. ROI
 
Perhaps most importantly, you’ll need to prove the return on investment (ROI) of your social media strategy. Your company leaders will want to see whether social media is money well-spent.

If your strategy is working, you’ll have the evidence you need to prove ROI. Your vanity metrics are a great introduction, but using deeper metrics and analytics can really drive your point across.

These five pieces of evidence can help you see the impact your hard work and strategy is having for your company.
Measure them and you’ll know whether your strategy is working.

Culled from socialmedia.com and adapted
3 30-Sep-2017 8 Best Practices To Promote Your Business On Social Media
There are not a few Nigerians who think social media is only useful for gossip. Adokie Tarila used to think that way - until his friend, Dickson Nariebo, shared the secret of how positive use of social media has transformed his business from an obscure restaurant to one of the hottest eateries in town.

A study conducted in the US showed that in 2012, 54 percent of small-business owners, needed help with social media. Two years later, that number dropped to 45 percent. This confidence seems to be translating into success, with 72 percent saying that their marketing efforts across the channels that matter, including social, email, mobile and Web, are working.

Socially savvy entrepreneurs know that it’s all about engaging the right audiences with valuable content. The online community has little tolerance for self-promoters who view social media as a means to free advertising. Given this, small-business owners face a challenge when it comes to striking a balance in using social media to engage and promote.   

Promotion and engagement are really two sides of the same coin. Engagement is rooted in consistently sharing insight and providing value every time you connect with a customer. This establishes credibility while building trust and inspiring customers to tell their friends about you. Promotion extends your engagement efforts by presenting a valuable offer that’s based on your customers’ interests and needs. Social media amplifies your efforts so you can be found and engage a wider audience to grow your business.

To put it all together, here are eight best practices for successfully engaging customers and promoting your small business through social media.

1. Follow the one-in-seven rule.

This rule is where only one of every seven posts overtly promotes your business. The remaining six should be focused on sharing valuable content, including posts from the community. This doesn’t mean you can’t promote your business in those other posts; just be sure you pair it with great content.

2. Ask conversation-starter questions.

Most people enjoy sharing their opinions, so ask Facebook fans to weigh in on topics that are relevant to your business and interesting to them. For example, a fitness center may ask fans to vote on their favorite summer sports in order to be entered into a drawing to win private lessons for them and a friend who joins the club. The questions should engage fans and inspire them to refer business while giving the business owner great insight.

3. Share your expertise.

Post little-known, fun facts in the form of questions with a special offer presented to the first person to answer correctly.

4. Provide value.

While including fun posts that reflect your personality is a must, it’s important to create content that benefits your followers. That can mean posting tips on best practices, providing access to white papers, or offering special deals on products or services.

5. Enhance the rewards for virtual check-ins.

For a specific period of time, double the points each time a customer checks in on Foursquare and triple the points each time he or she brings a friend. Their friends on social networks will see when they’ve checked in while you expand your reach exponentially.

6. Create a Pinterest board.

Make sure the board has eye-catching visuals and run a contest through it that will inspire and reward customers for their participation. Be sure to encourage them to re-pin and create their own boards that reflect the initial contest for additional social amplification of your campaign.

7. Avoid syndicated messages.

While you can use tools that allow you to write one message and have it appear on a variety of social media outlets, you risk losing the sincerity behind the message. You can use similar language as you promote your offer on different sites; just be sure to change up the words while reflecting the tone of each network.

If you find that your customers are scattered across a variety of networks, focus your efforts where they’re most active. Not sure? Ask. Otherwise, you may waste a lot of time skimming the surface of multiple networks with little results.

When small-business owners apply these best practices to social media engagement and promotion, we’ll likely see that already impressive 72 percent success statistic continue to rise.

Culled from American express.com and adapted
4 23-Sep-2017 Important Tips On Export Promotion For Your Business
Many entrepreneurs want to export their goods or services but are often confused about what steps to take. When the Federal Government began to export tubers of yam, for example, James Ugocha a yam farmer in Benue State quickly approached his friend for advice on how he might take advantage of the yam export policy!

Some tips by his friend, Abdul Echenum, summarised here today, might be useful to entrepreneurs who may find themselves in a similar position like James.

Export promotion is a set of public policy measures, which could potentially enhance the export activity of a company, industry or a nation. Such policy measures are subject to a variety of factors and regulations that could affect the volume, types of goods and services exported from their areas of authority.

Export development is important to the firm and to the economy as a whole. Export Promotion Strategy promotes only the industries that have potential for developing and competing with foreign rivals in the international market. The main goal of export promotion is to prepare the “potential” industries for competition with the foreign rivals. So these industries at their infancy must be protected by government policies for a while.

Naturally, exporters face increasing competition, in order to remain a key player in international markets there’s a need to continuously improve technologies, products and services quality. Exporters may take advantage of research and development studies.

In the process of preparation for exports, companies need to conduct a research that will help them choose a market, which will contribute to the maximization of the benefits and minimization of the risks.

Research will also help managers decide not only on the markets to enter but also on the modes of entry. When deciding on these issues, the companies need to gather information on the following parameters:

Information on the market availability: This should be the first phase in the process of research. If the result of the research shows that there are many barriers for entry on a certain market, then the company should reconsider the decision to go on that market. This is the phase where companies should collect information on the trade policy, tariff and non-tariff barriers, regulations regarding the exports and imports of the country, developed trade relations with different countries and trade groups etc.

Information on the business environment: The second phase in the process of research is analysis of the business climate and environment of the potential markets. At the same time, this is the most critical stage in the information gathering process as it helps in the development of clear picture of the markets in the selected countries and the opportunities that are offered. The most important components to be analyzed are the economic and political-legal environments and their factors affecting the operations of the companies.

Information on the size and potential of the markets: Demographic characteristics of the markets (number of inhabitants, growth rate, population density, age structure), geographic characteristics (area, climate, topography), economic parameters (gross domestic product, GDP per capita, GDP growth rate, purchasing power, income level, average salary, consumption of different category types, economy growth, industry growth), technological parameters (actual production technology, planned technological development, investments in technology, Internet users, level of development of the information and communication network, investments in hardware and software), educational characteristics (educational system, students enrolled, foreign languages learned in schools, graduated students, graduated students according to the level of education, number of master students, number on PhD students) and socio-cultural characteristics (dominant religion, dominant values, life style, ethnical groups etc.).

Information on the economic and market infrastructure, including information on the availability of resources, costs of the resources, availability and qualification of the workforce, availability of capital, insurance etc.

Information on the communication infrastructure, including information on the road network, air transport, telecommunication conditions, logistics centers, logistics network, distribution systems, availability, importance and power of media, opportunities for promotion, retail infrastructure, wholesale etc.

Information for the market of the specific product: Sales and availability of the specific product, use of complementary or substitute products, competition etc.
5 16-Sep-2017 Five Rules To Rebound From Failure
When business fails most people don’t only tend to see it as a setback; they think it’s the end of the road. They take it personal. They don’t want to talk about it and don’t even want to remember it. They just want to escape as quickly as they can and just get on with their lives. There are many reasons why people tend to respond this way. Perhaps the most common in Nigeria is stigma. Ibrahim Alhassan, who struggled with his textile material retailing business for many years, is a good example. He was rejected from a military academy and failed his qualifying exam as a chartered accountant. The real kicker came when textile suppliers cut him off as a result of mounting debts. He had dipped his hands into sales to cater for pressing family needs, leaving his business badly exposed. He was waiting for his landlord to kick him out when he approached a family friend, who gave him the following advice. It was a lifesaver. You, too, might just find it useful: 

Don’t pretend it never happened. 

People are often so anxious to avoid the stigma of failure that they refuse to admit what happened. Denial usually results in a host of other problems, including internal stress and delaying any effective remedy. 

The late Dale Carnegie, a well-regarded lecturer and author of the bestseller “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” said that when you’re quick to admit that you screwed up, your peers will stop holding your feet to the fire and actually begin to comfort you.

Avoid making excuses. 

Some people wiggle past the truth by admitting to a problem they sugarcoat in excuses. I was one of them. At one point during my teenage years I was homeless and an alcoholic. At every turn, I told myself that all my shortcomings were not my fault.  My situation only improved when I stopped making excuses and focused on a productive goal. 

Don't confuse a failed goal for a failed person. 

Sometimes people take the opposite approach from what I just described. They blame themselves for any and every failure, creating a pattern of negative self-reinforcement. Assuming you'll invariably screw up is dangerous thinking -- and can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead of setting up a mental pattern for failure, ask yourself how you can improve.

Remember, you are not alone. 

People fail to reach goals all the time. Take football players, for example. They shoot the ball many times over the course of a long, 90-minute game. And when they fail, they do it in front of millions of TV viewers. The point is that we’re not robots. Everyone’s bound to stumble every once in a while.

Focus on the lessons learned. 

The only way to survive such a world-class level of failure is to focus on the future. Not many people can say they’ve literally lost billions of dollars and chalk it up to "business lessons." I’m currently rebuilding my company, which now has a portfolio valued at $100 million. 

Culled from Entrepreneur.com and adapted
6 09-Sep-2017 5 Failed Businesses And Why They Failed Part 2
Last week, we started a series on business failure and the value of the lessons learned for future success. In our previous article we examined 123Next newspaper and the digital start-up, Showroom.ng, this week we continue our exploration: 
 

High Television (HiTV)

In 2007, sports viewers were excited when Toyin Subair launched HiTV, a multi-channel digital entertainment satellite station.  HiTV was the first television platform in Africa to deploy Hypercable, a terrestrial pay-per-view TV decoder system. The firm secured a five-year exclusive right to broadcast the lucrative English Premier League in Nigeria, in a bid that pitted it against an African broadcast giant. Its existence lasted only those five years.

Starting a satellite TV station, which could compete favourably with established ones from its inception required intensive capital. HiTV sought huge bank facilities and funds from other investors, which translated into signing bilateral and multilateral stakeholder agreements. These agreements were apparently not properly managed. Therefore, diverse interests came to play in its operations. When it became clear that they couldn't get their investors to be on the same page, the business collapsed under its huge debts.

In 2016 after a long silence, Subair had this to say on his LinkedIn page: “I failed to know and manage my investors properly, which made it hard for me to mediate when they didn't see eye to eye.”
 

Air Nigeria

Jimoh Ibrahim took over Virgin Nigeria and reestablished it as Air Nigeria in June 2010. He promised to turn its fortune around. In September 2012, just over two years after, the airline announced that it had fired its employees and was suspending all services.

It is often said that the easiest way for a billionaire to become a millionaire is by starting an airline. The aviation industry is delicate and susceptible, so to stay afloat in the aviation business requires loads of capital, impeccable customer service and innovative thinking. It turned out that Air Nigeria lacked all.

Air travel is about safety and comfort. According to Ibrahim, he decided to shut down the supposed national carrier when it became clear that he couldn't guarantee both due to mismanagement. “People running the airline were printing tickets and selling them but the ticketing wasn't going into the system. If people are corrupt within an airline they can compromise safety,” he said in an interview in 2016.

Erisco Foods

In November 2016, Erisco Foods Limited, a wholly indigenous food processing company, announced the shutdown of its tomato manufacturing business in Nigeria.  The chief executive officer of the company, Eric Umeofia, cited an unfavourable operating climate, which has escalated operational cost of production. The company eventually relocated the manufacturing aspect of the business to China from where finished products would be imported and sold to consumers in Nigeria. 

Before the eventual shutdown, the company had embarked upon a media campaign drawing government's attention to its inability to compete with cheaper imported brands, especially from China. Erisco's might be a case of external factors, especially those of policies and infrastructure, which made the importation of what it produced cheaper than locally produced ones. However, sourcing raw materials locally is one way other food processing companies have been able to keep prices down and stay in business against all odds. Resilience is crucial to the success of a business
7 03-Sep-2017 5 Failed Businesses And Why They Failed Part 1
A lot has been written on the business success of moguls such as Aliko Dangote, Mike Adenuga, Innocent Chukwuma, Folorunsho Alakija and a host of others. 

Pop songs celebrate them as the yardstick for measuring success or the “Nigerian dream”. However, ask these people and they'll tell you how initial setbacks clogged their road to success.  

Because there are more lessons to be learnt in failure than in success, in the next few weeks we would be looking at the much-stigmatised word – failure. This week, however, we want to look at five randomly selected failed businesses across various sectors in Nigeria and why they failed.
 

123Next Newspaper

Founded in 2004 by the multiple award-winning writer Dele Olojede, Next newspaper was everything other Nigerian newspapers were not. It offered fresh perspective in covering news, opinion, arts & culture, business and entertainment. Investigative journalism was at its heart and it demonstrated a unique breakaway from speculative reportage. 

The paper understood and took seriously the importance of professionalism, ethical standards and staff welfare. Thus, it was paying its journalists way above industry standard as a way to guarantee quality content and balanced reportage. As a policy, Next refused to collect adverts from government institutions. This was its undoing, because in a developing country like Nigeria, almost every socio-economic activity revolves around government one way or the other. In 2011, the newspaper shut down its print edition. It simply couldn't continue to fund its journalistic “lifestyle”, noble as it was.

In a Podcast interview in June 2017, Olojede said of Next, “We were excellent newspaper men, but poor business men.” It pretty much summed up why the business failed.
  

Showroom.ng

In 2014, Sheriff Shittu, a serial entrepreneur, started Showroom.ng with a big ambition. He wanted to use technology to empower 100,000 furniture makers to become millionaires by the year 2020 by linking them to buyers.  Unfortunately, he shut down the business in 2016, less than two years after takeoff. 
  
Considering the success rate of online retailer businesses in Nigeria, it would be wrong to attribute Showroom.ng's failure to wrong market or wrong product. It was a matter of wrong execution. For an online concern, the firm lacked skilled manpower and struggled with its turnaround time and customer service. 
 
In an article in 2016, Shittu himself acknowledged his failure by stating that, “Success of any endeavour has a lot of tie to the people behind it. Looking back, I'd have selected those with domain expertise, better work ethics and complimentary strength.”

...to be continued next week
8 26-Aug-2017 Super Tips for Managing Multiple Locations of Your Business
You opened your business in a small space in a busy city, say Lagos, Kano or Aba. Your hard work paid off and business started booming. And though you were grateful for the expansion, you suddenly find yourself having to juggle more than one location, a larger team of employees and the needs of hundreds or even thousands of customers. It can seem overwhelming, sure. But with the right preparation, managerial skills and dedicated workforce to support you, you can keep your business running smoothly as it continues to flourish. Let’s take a look at four strategies you can take to juggle multiple locations, tasks and people all at once.

1. Check in with locations

You need to witness firsthand how other locations are doing. Don’t sit in Kano open a branch in Kaura Namoda and expect it to do well. When visiting your branches, you should be looking at how employees are interacting with your customers and with one another, whether those employees are taking accurate inventory counts, how clean the stores are and whether or not they need renovations and repairs. It’s not enough to send an assistant or a manager to do this job. As owner, you know what a successful store should look like. It’s also important to check in with your various locations on a regular basis. This doesn’t mean you’re physically there every day. Once a week or even once every few weeks should be sufficient as long as there are no complaints. If you're simply checking in with employees, set up virtual meetings using available social media networks, especially WhatsApp, FaceTime or Skype. Make sure that at these meetings, you start with the positives first, and let employees know that you value their dedication.

2. Ask for weekly progress reports

Let's say you visit your stores and talk to employees. Everything may seem fine, but you have to know for sure. This is why weekly progress reports are critical. Weekly reports help with goal-setting, show employees who are doing great with sales and who may require more help, and let you put into writing any needs that certain locations may be lacking. Progress reports are objective and show, on paper, your stores’ strengths and weaknesses. 

3. Host a party or gathering

Your employees can make or break your company. You want to make them feel appreciated and part of a group effort. A few times a year, then, hold a get-together or party so that you can talk to your employees one-on-one, hear them out if they have any issues and strengthen your relationships. It’s also a chance for employees at different stores to get to know one another. Remember to keep things casual; the point of the gathering is to make employees feel relaxed and closer to you and the business.

4. Hold quarterly training sessions

A quarterly training session is where you’re able to talk about professional topics with your employees. You can bring in interesting guest speakers like corporate comedians or other successful business owners, do team-building exercises and go over your goals for the quarter. At these sessions, the objective is to ensure that everybody is on the same page, and no one feels as if he or she is lagging behind. It’s where employees can get answers to their questions and be motivated to improve their work. To show your admiration for your employees, you might think about handing out awards and gift cards to those who have reached and/or exceeded their store’s sales goals. Managing multiple locations can seem overwhelming, but you need to always remember that it’s a positive thing. Your business is doing well, and you have the proof to show it. 

Adapted from entrepreneur.com 
9 19-Aug-2017 Pricing Secrets You Must Know
Price may not be the basis of your corporate strategy, but you must have a pricing strategy to implement your corporate strategy. Remember that pricing strategies are big-picture decisions that provide guidance to the people within your organization who actually set prices. 
They are your pricing processes and policies. When you ask a marketer "What are some pricing strategies?" You will likely get the answer that there are three pricing strategies:

- Neutral, Penetration and Skimming

A better way to look at this is that these are pricing strategies to define the general level of prices.

Neutral Pricing

Neutral pricing, the most common pricing strategy, means that you price so that your customers are relatively indifferent between your product and your competitor's product after all features and benefits, including price, are taken into account. Of course not all customers will be indifferent. Some will like your offering better, others will like your competitor's better. From this perspective, think of neutral pricing as maintaining the status quo. You aren't trying to gain or lose market share.
Most pricing in relatively stable markets would be considered neutral. As you walk through a grocery store, the prices you see are neutral. Although you may use a combination of neutral, penetration, and skimming prices, you will most often use neutral.

Penetration Pricing

Penetration pricing means pricing more aggressively than neutral. It can be used to gain market share relative to your competition -- but be careful. For instance, Bimbo – the neighbourhood supermarket may price her noodles for N80 while Musa at the kiosk up the road sells his for N70 just to capture market share. 
This can and does start price wars. No company wants to lose market share, and if you lower your price in an effort to gain market share, your competitors are likely to lower their prices just to keep their share. A more appropriate and common use of penetration pricing is to speed up the growth of a newly forming market. 
Low pricing is often justified to quickly grow a new market and to gain the largest share as the market grows. This strategy works best when you are the first entrant, or one of the first entrants, into a market. Penetration pricing in this situation may also deter other companies from competing when they recognize there are not huge profits to be gained.

Forward Pricing

Forward pricing is another term similar to penetration pricing, but with a focus on future costs. If you're building a product and it costs N100 to make, you probably don't want to sell it for less than N100.
However, if you know that once you sell a million units, your costs will go down to N30, you may be willing to sell at a price lower than your current costs knowing that your costs will be lower in the future. The forward part of the name indicates you're looking forward in time to estimate what your costs will be and using that cost as your basis for pricing.

Skimming

Skimming is the opposite of penetration pricing. Companies skim in an effort to segment the market, to get the customers who are willing to pay more to do so. The two common implementations of skimming are at new product launch and at the end of a product's life. When companies skim during new product launch, they are selling to customers with a high willingness to pay. Once this market is depleted (or at least slows down), the company lowers the price to sell to the next tier of customers. Skimming, as a market entry strategy only works when you have a monopolistic position. The other common use of skimming is at a product's end of life. Sometimes firms would like to discontinue a product but have too many customers who have a continuing need for it. In this situation, the company may gradually increase prices over market value to gain more revenue from these customers. The firm is trading off being able to compete for new business for additional revenue on existing business. One big caution is that customers, especially loyal customers like these, don't like to have their prices raised. You must have a good explanation and possibly an alternative offering. It should be apparent that these three strategies follow specific corporate objectives. If a corporate objective is to raise ASP (average selling price), then skimming may be appropriate. If a corporate objective is to win market share, then penetration pricing is needed. If the corporate strategy is to generate and capture value, then neutral pricing would be appropriate.

Value-Based Pricing

Value-based pricing, another pricing strategy, is the most important. The idea seems simple. How much is your customer willing to pay? Set the price at or just below that point. However, the implementation and usage of value-based pricing is much more complex. Throughout business history, firms traditionally used the cost-plus method of determining prices. They determined how much their product cost to make and then added whatever margin they thought they deserved. Hence, the term ‘cost-plus’. Cost-plus pricing has some advantages: It's simple, you do have to understand your customers, and it's easy for you and your competitors to get in sync. However, cost-plus is not optimal pricing. You have to make a strategic pricing decision. Are you going to use cost-plus pricing or value-based pricing (or some other method)? If you want to increase profits, you will commit to using value-based pricing. As you learn more about value-based pricing, you'll learn that it's impossible to implement perfectly. After all, our customers never tell us exactly how much they're willing to pay. However, value-based pricing is accepted by pricing professionals and consultants as the optimal pricing strategy.

Sourced from entrepreneurs.com, slightly modified
10 12-Aug-2017 Understanding Customer Relationship Management
Customer relationship management (CRM) is the process of carefully managing detailed information about individual customers and all customer “touch points” to maximize loyalty. A customer touch point is any occasion on which a customer encounters the brand and product from actual experience to personal or mass communication to casual observation. For a hotel, the touch points include reservations, check-in and checkout, frequent-stay programs, room service, business services, exercise facilities, laundry service, restaurants, and bars. Several five star hotels rely on personal touches such as a staff that always addresses guests by name, high powered employees who understand the needs of sophisticated business travellers, and at least one best-in-region facility, such as a premier restaurant or spa. CRM enables companies to provide excellent real-time customer service through the effective use of individual account information. Based on what they know about each valued customer, companies can customize market offerings, services, programs, messages, and media. CRM is important because a major driver of company profitability is the aggregate value of the company’s customer base.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) in the modern day business world requires   a business computer system for managing its interactions with its customers. A CRM system is an essential tool for business today that helps you manage your customers, sales and marketing. Instead of juggling spreadsheets and notes, a Customer Relationship Management system lets you keep accurate records of phone calls, emails, meetings, conversations and quotations. You can share this information within teams, with branches, plan ahead effectively and offer clients the right level of contact and support.

The CRM empowers you to manage your new leads from the initial contact through the sales pipeline to closure. You can set follow up tasks for yourself and colleagues, and report on all your activities and sales forecasts. The objective is to have a “360 degree view” of the customer, all information about the customer in one place. Setting up an efficient CRM involves investing time in your current customer base with the aim of retaining their custom and increasing their spend. The CRM system helps automate this by keeping a record of every communication you have with the customer. You can record what they’ve purchased and when, and set tasks to contact them every few weeks or months. This allows you to anticipate when they might want to buy again or if they need anything extra.

Essential Tips on Customer Relationship Management: 
  • It is essential for the sales representatives to understand the needs, interest as well as budget of the customers. Don’t suggest anything which would burn a hole in their pockets.
  • Never tell lies to the customers. Convey them only what your product offers. Don’t cook fake stories or ever try to fool them.
  • Do not keep customers waiting. Sales professionals should reach meetings on or before time. Make sure you are there at the venue before the customer reaches.
  • A sales professional should think from the customer’s perspective. Don’t only think about your own targets and incentives. Suggest only what is right for the customer. Don’t sell an expensive mobile to a customer who earns rupees five thousand per month. He would never come back to you and your organization would lose one of its esteemed customers.
  • Don’t oversell. Being pushy does not work in sales. If a customer needs something; he would definitely purchase the same. Never irritate the customer or make his life hell. Don’t call him more than twice in a single day.
  • An individual needs time to develop trust in you and your product. Give him time to think and decide.
  • Never be rude to customers. Handle the customers with patience and care. One should never ever get agitated with the customers.
  • Attend sales meeting with a cool mind. Greet the customers with a smile and try to solve their queries at the earliest.
  • Keep in touch with the customers even after the deal. Devise customer loyalty programs for them to return to your organization. Give them bonus points or gifts on every second purchase.
  • The sales manager must provide necessary training to the sales team to teach them how to interact with the customers. Remember customers are the assets of every business and it is important to keep them happy and satisfied for successful functioning of organization


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