Today’s post is by Mike Pugh, vice president of marketing at j2 Global Inc.
You’re probably often on the lookout for new tools and technology to help you drive more business. As a marketing executive with a company that provides cloud-based communication tools to millions of customers, I regularly receive feedback from professionals about what actually adds value for them. I’m amazed at how often the tools and techniques that make the biggest difference are easy to implement, inexpensive, or even free.
This principle holds true for sales, as well: you can realize big gains in your business with very small technological changes. In fact, by adding just a few simple mobile apps and making a couple of minor adjustments in your digital routine, you can improve every stage of your sales process – and close more deals.
1. Improve the Meet: Business Card Reader App
You’ve just met a potentially valuable prospect, who hands you a business card. This person’s name is hard to pronounce and remember, so you’ll hang on to the card. Do you have a foolproof process for getting the card’s details into your contact-management system?
Here’s where a digital card reader can make all the difference. For a few dollars, you can install a brilliant app on your smartphone, snap a picture of any business card, and the details will automatically populate in your phone’s contact list.
Rather than wait until you’re at your computer to manually enter your prospect’s details, you can do it with one click, from anywhere. In fact, as soon as your prospect walks away, you can click his or her contact information into your phone and send a thank-you message.
There are several card-reader apps available, but I recommend Business Card Reader Pro.
2. Improve Your Online Profile: Use a Professional Head Shot
After you’ve begun conversing with your new prospect, you’ll probably use several digital methods to communicate – email, certainly, but also perhaps Skype, LinkedIn, text messaging, and any number of social-media tools. Do you know how you appear visually on all of these digital platforms?
You might not realize it, but if you’re sending a prospect an informal email using your Gmail account, Google Chat, or Google+, your photo might appear as part of your message. Is it a professional image or a photo of you in a t-shirt holding your cat? Invest in a professional head shot, one that is consistent with the image you want to convey to prospects, customers, and colleagues, and add this picture to every digital platform you use. You’ll be investing in your own personal brand.
3. Improve Your Responsiveness When It Counts: Voicemail to Text
Now assume you’re well down the sales path with your prospect. You’re at a convention, engaged in another potentially important chat with a prospect, when your phone buzzes. You glance down. The caller is The Prospect Whose Name Is Hard to Pronounce. You don’t want to interrupt your face-to-face conversation to answer, but how long should you wait to listen to the voicemail? What if it’s important? What if this is the call?
A virtual phone solution from eVoice® transcribes your voicemail in real time and sends you the message as text. Glance down at your phone once more and see that the prospect wanted only a reminder about a small detail of your offering. This wasn’t the call. You can respond later.
4. Improve the Close Itself: Sign Digitally from Anywhere
OK, NOW you get the call. Your prospect is sold and is faxing you a signed copy of the agreement to review and countersign. But it’s day two at the convention; you’re still there, and you’re busy. Still, you don’t want too much time to pass, or your prospect might wonder if there’s a problem. What to do?
With an online fax service such as eFax®, you can receive, review, edit, digitally sign, and return the fax right from your smartphone. Sign your name on the phone’s screen using just your finger, save the document, then fax it back via email. Deal done.
These are just a few ideas to get your creative gears turning, and I encourage you to seek out other easy-to-use tools to build into your sales process. Remember, small changes can have a big impact on your bottom line.