7 Surefire Ways to Get More Listings and Grow Your Business

Get More Business for Sale Listings

Historically, business-for-sale transactions have surged in the first quarter of the New Year. With more business owners looking to sell as part of their New Year’s resolution, there’s no better time than now to spruce up your marketing efforts and grow your inventory of listings.

Here’s 7 ways to gain more clients now:

  1. Get referrals. Not only are referrals a great way to grow your listings, they’re a mainstay for growing any business. Start by reaching out to former clients and continue by reaching out to your professional network, including accountants, attorneys and former colleagues. Learn more creative ways to get referrals in our article, How to Boost Client Referrals and Make Them the Bread and Butter of Your Business
  2. Host seminars and workshops. As a successful business broker, you’re an expert in your field and hosting a free workshop is a great opportunity to tell business owners how they can benefit from using your services. This is a great opportunity to generate exposure for yourself, develop new relationships and grow your business. You’ll find step-by-step details on hosting your own seminar or workshop in our article, 7 Tips to Grow Your Business Giving Educational Seminars and Workshops.
  3. Offer a gift or promotion. A free consultation, evaluation or estimate is a great way to attract new prospects and show them what you can do for them. Gifts and promotions are also a great ways to network and get referrals.
  4. Direct marketing. If you’re strictly digital, then email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to reach new prospects. You can purchase targeted lists, such as business owners, from InfoUSA or Dun & Bradstreet for both email and traditional direct mail campaigns. Depending on your budget, there are many creative ways to target new customers directly, including telemarketing, text messaging and online marketing.
  5. Be more visible online. While most brokers can be found online, either through a website or a professional directory, many don’t keep their information up-to-date. If you have a website, it should be mobile responsive and follow all of Google’s SEO best practices, otherwise it will be less visible in Google searches. You should also be listed in all the current online directories, including Google+, Bing, Yext, NeustarLocaleze and Yelp.
  6. Leverage social media. Not only is social media a great way to grow your business, it’s a very cost effective way to get the word out. Facebook is by far the largest social network worldwide and offers a number of ways to boost your posts and pages. LinkedIn may be smaller, but it’s the top social network for B2B marketing, while Google+ offers SEO benefits. Bonus tip: If you’re a BizBuySell’s member and a member of LinkedIn or any of our partners, you can link your accounts and distribute your listings, free of charge. For more tips on leveraging social media, read our article, 7 Ways to Add Value to Your Business With Social Media Marketing.
  7. Optimize your BrokerWorks membership. Your BrokerWorks membership is one of the most powerful tools you can use to market yourself and your listings. Are you taking advantage of its full potential? Your broker profile should be complete; it should impress prospects with a well-rounded idea of what you can do for them, including your expertise and credentials. The more complete your profile is, the higher it ranks in search results. Your listings should also be complete, with catchy headlines and professional photos. You should also consider upgrading to an Elite membership, which generates 5X more seller leads on average. For more information, read our article, 3 Ways to Optimize Your BrokerWorks Membership and Generate More Leads.

Now is a great time to apply these tips to boost your listing inventory for the coming busy season. These tips can also be applied again and again, throughout the entire year, as best practices to grow your business and generate new leads.

The post 7 Surefire Ways to Get More Listings and Grow Your Business appeared first on BizBuySell Blog.


Sales Team Challenges When Scaling

Continuing with yesterday’s post on Territories vs Wide Open for Sales Teams, one of the points mentioned was that with territories, as the team scales, the assigned geography for each sales rep shrinks (more reps equals more sub dividing of territories). As expected, many challenges arise as the sales team scales. Here are a few to consider:

  • Sales Reps to Management — The top sales reps often don’t make the best sales managers (different skill set and personality traits). As the team grows, it’s important to set expectations around the path to management and build management training programs.
  • Downward Lead Volume Per Rep — The size of the sales team often grows faster than the volume of qualified leads such that the number of leads per rep goes down over time.
  • Hiring Standards — It’s hard to find great sales people. As pressure is applied for hitting an overall team quota, there’s a tendency to lower hiring standards to get more people in the door. Don’t do it.
  • Undoing Special Arrangements — Special sales rep arrangements like owning certain reseller relationships or getting a slightly different commission for certain deals become problematic as the team grows and more specialized functions are implemented (like a channel program).
  • Adding Process — Some reps that thrive during the free-for-all early startup stage don’t make it as the organization hits the growth stage and adds more process. It’s not that one stage is better or worse. Rather, it’s important to connect the right personalities with the right stage of the company.

Scaling a sales team is hard, especially with the pressure from different stakeholders like investors. Know that there are many challenges scaling a sales team and these are just a few of them.

What else? What are some more challenges scaling a sales team?

Territories vs Wide Open for Sales Teams

At Pardot, we built the sales team to almost 30 people before the exit and never had territories (everything was inside sales). Our model was wide open with simple round robin lead assignment based on two different queues (one based on leads from the test drive form and one based on leads from all other forms). When I talk to entrepreneurs about their sales strategy, territories are commonplace. Naturally, we had internal debates about the pros and cons of territories vs wide open.

Here are a few thoughts on territories vs wide open:

  • With wide open, sales reps get an equal number of qualified leads as company lead volume ebbs and flows
  • With territories, sales reps get a reduced geography as the sales team grows, potentially resulting in morale issues
  • With wide open, there’s a constant tension around the rules of engagement for stale leads (we made it so that if a lead hadn’t been engaged in six weeks, it was fair game)
  • With territories, sales reps that are primarily inside have a better opportunity to meet with multiple prospects on the occasional trip to their territory as well as attend regional events

The growth of inside sales is causing entrepreneurs to rethink the traditional territory approach and look for ways to make sales more efficient. Entrepreneurs would do well to evaluate both the territories approach as well as the wide open approach.

What else? What are some more thoughts on territories vs wide open for sales teams?

Video of the Week: Make Body Language Your Superpower

Continuing with our recent sales theme, our video of the week is from Stanford titled Make Body Language Your Superpower. Enjoy!

From YouTube: Making Body Language Your Superpower — an instructional video on using body language effectively. Presented by Stanford graduate students Matt Levy, Colin Bailie, Jeong Joon Ha, and Jennifer Rosenfeld. Created as an exemplary final project in Lecturer JD Schramm’s Strategic Communication course in March 2014. Body language — both the speaker’s and the audience’s — is a powerful form of communication that is difficult to master, especially if the speaker is nervous. This video will teach you how to use your body language effectively, even if you are nervous. This video will also show you how to read the audience’s body language and what you should do when they look bored or disconnected from the presentation. Use these tools to enhance your nonverbal communication abilities and better connect with your audiences.

Benchmarking Sales Development Reps

After talking to a number of entrepreneurs that are getting value out of their sales development rep (SDR) team (especially when using SalesLoft Cadence), a common question comes up: what are some SDR benchmarks? Entrepreneurs want to know where they are in relation to average, and areas to improve.

Here are a few questions to benchmark the sales development reps:

  • What’s the average number of successes (demos, appointments, meetings, etc.) per rep per month?
  • What’s the ratio of demos/appointments scheduled to completed (e.g. how many people don’t show up)?
  • What’s the average number of calls per day?
  • What’s the average ratio of calls to connects (calls that result in talking to someone)?
  • What’s the average ratio of positive conversations to calls?
  • What’s the average ratio of voicemails left to calls?
  • What’s the average number of emails per day?
  • What’s the average ratio of email opens to emails sent?
  • What’s the average ratio of email clicks to emails sent?
  • What’s the average ratio of email replies to emails sent?

While I don’t have the benchmarks (yet), I’m sure we’ll be seeing them soon. Look for more data to emerge as the sales engagement industry grows.

What else? What are some more questions to ask around benchmarking sales development reps?

How Mobile is Changing the Home Goods Industry

Historically, most home related purchases take place in-store and through print or digital catalogues. However, as mobile becomes more and more popular, it’s beginning to change the way people discover and purchase home goods. From January to March 2016, roughly one-fifth of US digital sales in the home category took place on mobile.* And that’s just the beginning of the opportunity mobile has for brands in the home category.

Mobile Over Desktop

With the ubiquity of smartphones, many companies — including those in the home category — are seeing customers make purchases on mobile over desktop. “The narrative a few years ago was that folks would use mobile to do preliminary research on the fly, but they would wait to make that large purchase until they were on their desktop. That’s no longer a general truth,” says Bob Sherwin, VP of Direct Marketing at Wayfair.

And some home brands are experiencing even more mobile growth than the average. Ashley Wahl, Customer Relationship Manager at popular furniture and home accessory company Ikea, recently said that, “Nationally, we see about one in three purchases coming from mobile devices. And that’s continuing to trend up.

Home Goods Consumers Love Instagram

It’s no secret that Instagram is one of the best places customers can discover new products on mobile. With more than 500M monthly actives, Instagram has a community that’s bigger than Snapchat, Twitter and Pinterest combined.** And our home category audience is part of that highly engaged community. Instagrammers interested in home goods are active seven more days out of the month and follow 140% more accounts than the average Instagrammer. They also consume 4x more content and have on average 3.5x more followers.***

Home Goods Brands Love Instagram

With such an active audience continually seeking visual discovery on Instagram, brands are taking note. Home retailers are using Instagram as an extension of their showrooms and catalogues to give consumers a more in-depth look of their products. With our new shopping experience being tested on Instagram starting next week, retailers are also sharing posts that let consumers review, learn about and consider products directly within the app before making a purchase.

And we’re seeing several home brands like Home Depot and Lowes Home Improvement taking advantage of carousel and video ads to showcase their products through do-it-yourself project tutorials.

In addition to showcasing products in action, home good brands are making sales on Instagram. To increase sales, online direct-to-consumer furniture company Article turned to Instagram links ads. Through a combination of video and carousel ads, the company showed its furniture in aspirational but attainable settings to express the quality of its products. After the campaign ended, Article.com saw an 8x return on ad spend — 1.6x higher than its original goal. It also attributed Instagram in the path to purchase for 36% of its transactions. “The path to purchase for our customers is often complex, but the proportion of transactions of which Instagram is part of that journey continues to surprise me,” says Duncan Blair, Director of Marketing, Article.

With such an active audience of home goods consumers, there’s no better place to reach your key audience. Whether you’re looking to inspire through highly visual content, be discovered by potential consumers or sell products in store or online, you can with Instagram.

Sources: eMarketer, Furniture and Home Goods Retailers and Digital Commerce 2016: Trends and Benchmarks, October 2016; **eMarketer, US, March 2015; ** Instagram data based on audiences eligible to see ads on Instagram based on a variety of factors. Data based on users that are ages 18–65+, US, using home-related hashtags, based on 28 days prior to Oct 19, 2016.

The Different Meeting Rhythms in Sales

Recently I was meeting with an entrepreneur and he was telling me about the weekly sales pipeline review he does with their head of sales where they talk about every opportunity that’s expected to close in the next 30 days. This got me thinking about the different meeting rhythms throughout a sales organization.

Here are some of the common sales meetings:

  • Daily stand up or check-in meeting where everyone goes around and answers the questions “what did you accomplish yesterday?”, “what are you going to do today?”, and “are there any roadblocks?”
  • Weekly 1-on-1s where the sales manager meets individually with their direct reports and provides coaching and feedback (WideAngle is recommended for managing this process)
  • Weekly pipeline review with the sales managers and the executive that’s responsible for sales (often the CEO)
  • Weekly product training session where the sales team is trained on a different aspect of the product, both new and old features
  • Weekly sales meeting where the team huddles for a few minutes and talks about what is, and isn’t, working
  • Quarterly board meeting where the sales leader provides an update for the board
  • Annual sales kick-off meeting to talk about the new year and new opportunities

These are some of the more common recurring sales meetings found in a scaling startup. The goal is to find the right balance between too many meetings and too few.

What else? What are some other common recurring sales meetings?