By Barb Ernster
Business owners can establish an effective sales and marketing strategy with some simple steps. It is important to understand that while sales and marketing go hand in hand, they serve different roles.Â Simply put, marketing creates customer prospects, and sales turns those prospects into revenue. However, with many small marine canvas businesses, the person who is marketing is often also selling. Charlene Clark, co-owner of Signature CanvasMakers, shares these tips for a successful campaign:
Set goals: You need to know where you (and your team) are going in order to get there!Â Make sure goals are quantitative, trackable, and achievable.Â
Be prepared: Know your products and materials (benefits/differences) and be able to answer questions and overcome objections. No two customers are going to ask the same questions and respond the same way.
Time management: Be able to prioritize your time, handle interruptions, and not procrastinate.Â Work smarter, not harder!
Prospecting: Despite the numerous benefits that can be touted about the “digital age,” there is still no better sales technique than face-to-face meetings with customers.Â When a prospective customer calls in for a quote, always offer to meet with them in person at their boat.Â Establish credibility and a rapport with them and earn their trust and respect.
Networking: Get out and meet people!Â Walk marina docks when on duty and off; attend meetings and events in town, etc.
Focus on your best prospects: Look at your current customer base and evaluate which you consider your “ideal” customers and why.Â Most likely, these are customers who are producing the greatest profit for you.Â When you can determine the basic characteristics of that customer base, begin to look for and target other customers who have similar characteristics.
Make it easy: There is a lot of competition.Â Make it easy for your customers to find you (website, Facebook, free online listings in City Search, and Yellow Pages) and provide a hassle free experience.
Follow-up: Selling is not a one-step process.Â Once the initial contact is made, don’t just assume that it’s a done deal. Call customers to ask if they have any questions about your conversation or your quote and don’t forget to ask for the sale.