Want More Clients? Do You Need to Fix Your Marketing or Your Sales Process?

I spent the last week at a conference and had the opportunity to speak to lots of small business owners about what was working, and what wasn’t working in their business. A lot of entrepreneurs were saying that even though the overall trend was an increase over last year, they are still looking to increase their revenues even more.I found it interesting to listen to what they thought was preventing them from achieving those goals. The two topics that come up most often in these discussions are marketing and sales. The thing is that I think there are a lot of entrepreneurs who don’t understand the difference between marketing and sales, and how one impacts the other.Here is a simplistic way of explaining it. Marketing is what happens before a client contacts you. It’s what you do to increase awareness so that people know who you are and what you do. Sales starts once the client contacts you asking for information about working with you. It continues from the initial contact until you have their credit card number and their signature on the dotted line.Once you have the sale closed, I would say marketing kicks back in again (though I know many people feel that the service you do after the sale is a continuation of the sales process – and I can see their point on that!). The reason I feel like it is marketing is that you are now setting the stage for repeat and referral business. In my opinion, that’s marketing.So basically MARKETING is the process of getting your name out in front of more potential clients, of letting them know you exist and how you can help them. SALES is the process of closing those potential clients who raise their hand and say “hey, that sounds good! I’m interested in that!” You could certainly break things down even further, but for now let’s go with that idea, OK?So what’s your problem?When you look at your business, ask yourself a couple of questions:

How often are you getting new inquiries or quote requests?

Does your phone ring fairly often?

When you do get an inquiry, is that person the “right fit” for your business?

Once you reply to the inquiry, how often are you closing the sale?

How hard do you have to work to close the sale with that prospective client?
It’s your marketing… If you aren’t getting many inquiries, it’s fairly easy to see that you have a marketing problem. You aren’t doing enough to let people know you, and your business, exist and that you can be of service to them. In this case, your marketing problem is generally pretty simple – it probably means you just aren’t doing enough marketing! No one tells you that when you open your business, you aren’t just becoming a business owner, you are also becoming a marketer… but it’s true!Not getting enough inquiries is not the only sign that you have a marketing problem. If those leads aren’t coming in the way you want them to, if the people contacting you aren’t your ideal clients or if you are just flat out having to work really hard to close the sale, then your marketing just isn’t getting the job done the way it should.Really great marketing will filter your clients for you. It attracts your ideal clients and draws them in. They see it and they think, “YES! I want that!” or “I need her!” It gets you half the way down the sales path because they have already “self selected” and decided that they want to work with you. It’s almost as if your marketing handles a good bit of the client qualification process for you.At the same time that your marketing is attracting your ideal clients, it should also be repelling those clients who you just don’t want to work with anyway. They should see that same message that makes your ideal client anxious to talk to you and think, “why on earth would anyone want THAT” and toss your ad in the trash.Far too many entrepreneurs get worried about appealing to everyone or saying something that is off putting to some people. My answer to that is that this is actually a GOOD thing. Those aren’t the clients you are meant to work with anyway!How do you fix it?If you are experiencing these marketing problems, you need to sit down and take a good hard look at your marketing message.

Do you know exactly who your ideal client really is? (hint: if your answer is a vague as “moms of preschoolers” or “baby boomers” then the answer is no, you don’t know exactly who your ideal client is!)

Are you able to clearly articulate what it is that you do for them, why they should work with you? (Another hint: if the answer is “I give great customer service,” or “I have 25 years of experience in the industry,” that’s not thought out enough).

Are you making sure you don’t put all of your eggs in one basket? You should aim to hit them with your marketing message in at least 3 different places at the same time whenever possible.

Are you marketing consistently and regularly or only here and there?
It’s your sales process… Now if you are getting a lot of inquiries from all of the right people but they just aren’t converting into sales, then you have a sales problem! At that point, it’s time to sit down and evaluate your sales process.For the next month, keep track of the number of inquiries you get and the number that you actually close and book. Keep a spreadsheet or a chart that tracks your leads and sales. Once you have that information, you can figure out what percentage of sales you are closing. No one is going to have a 100% close ratio, but if you are closing less than 50% of the prospects you work with, there is definitely significantly room for improvement in your process!How do you fix it?

Review the “script” you use as the basis for your conversations. Don’t have one? Well, that might just be your problem!

Take a good look at your qualifying questions. Are you getting the info you need?

Review the emails you’ve sent during the sales process, do they have a really clear call to action on what the client needs to do next to start working with you?

A BIG but really basic thing that I see happening a lot… are you actually asking for the sale? I’m always amazed at the number of people who present the perfect plan but then close the conversation with “so take a look at this and let me know if you have any questions. OK?” and never actually ask for the sale!

Review your follow up procedures. Chances are you aren’t following up enough!
So here’s your homework… Set aside some time to look at your business this week and see where you can find room for improvement. No matter how successful you are, we can ALL find somewhere we can be doing better! Pull out your marketing plan for the last year, review your materials and your message. Look at your sales process. Review those scripts and templates and see if you can adjust the language a bit to appeal more to your ideal clients. Practice a “closing the sale” conversation with a friend or colleague and ask for feedback. You’ll be glad you took the time to do this when you see your revenues increase as a result!

S&P 500 Biotech Giant Vertex Leads 5 Stocks Showing Strength

Your stocks to watch for the week ahead are Cheniere Energy (LNG), S&P 500 biotech giant Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX), Cardinal Health (CAH), Steel Dynamics (STLD) and Genuine Parts (GPC).

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While the market remains in correction, with analysts and investors wary of an economic downturn, these five stocks are worth adding to watchlists. S&P 500 medical giants Vertex and Cardinal Health have been holding up, as health-care related plays tend to do well in down markets.

Steel Dynamics and Genuine Parts are both coming off strong earnings as both the steel and auto parts industries report optimistic outlooks. Meanwhile, Cheniere Energy saw sales boom in the second quarter as demand in Europe for natural gas continues to grow.

Major indexes have been making rally attempts with the Dow Jones and S&P 500 testing weekly support on Friday. With market uncertainty, investors should be ready for follow-through day breakouts and keep an eye on these stocks.

Cheniere Energy, Cardinal Health and VRTX stock are all on IBD Leaderboard.

Cheniere Energy Stock
LNG shares rose 1.1% to 175.79 during Friday’s market trading. On the week, the stock advanced 3.1%, not from highs, bouncing from its 21-day and 10-week lines earlier in the week.

Cheniere Energy has been consolidating since mid-September, but needs another week to forge a proper base, with a potential 182.72 buy point formed on Aug. 10.

Houston-based Cheniere Energy was IBD Stock Of The Day on Thursday, as the largest U.S. producer of liquefied natural gas eyes strong demand in Europe.

Even though natural gas prices are plunging in the U.S. and Europe, investors still see strong LNG demand for Cheniere and others.

The U.K. government confirmed last week that it is in talks for an LNG purchase agreement with a number of companies, including Cheniere.

In the first half of 2021, less than 40% of Cheniere’s cargoes of LNG landed in Europe. That jumped to more than 70% through this year’s second quarter, even as the company ramped up new export capacity. The urgency of Europe’s natural gas shortage only intensified last month. That is when an explosion disabled the Nord Stream 1 pipeline from Russia that had once supplied 40% of the European Union’s natural gas.

In Q2, sales increased 165% to $8 billion and LNG earned $2.90 per share, up from a net loss of $1.30 per share in Q2 2021. The company will report Q3 earnings Nov. 3, with investors seeing booming profits for the next few quarters.

Cheniere Energy has a Composite Rating of 84. It has a 98 Relative Strength Rating, an exclusive IBD Stock Checkup gauge for share price movement with a 1 to 99 score. The rating shows how a stock’s performance over the last 52 weeks holds up against all the other stocks in IBD’s database. The EPS rating is 41.

Vertex Stock
VRTX stock jumped 3.4% to 300 on Friday, rebounding from a test of its 50-day moving average. Shares climbed 2.2% for the week. Vertex stock has formed a tight flat base with an official buy point of 306.05, according to MarketSmith analysis.

The stock has remained consistent over recent weeks, while the relative strength line has trended higher. The RS line tracks a stock’s performance vs. the S&P 500 index.

Vertex Q3 earnings are on due Oct. 27. Analysts see EPS edging up 1% to $3.61 per share with sales increasing 16% to $2.2 billion, according to FactSet.

The Boston-based global biotech company dominates the cystic fibrosis treatment market. Vertex also has other products in late-stage clinical development that target sickle cell disease, Type 1 diabetes and certain genetically caused kidney diseases. That includes a gene-editing partnership with Crispr Therapeutics (CRSP).

In early August, Vertex reported better-than-expected second-quarter results and raised full-year sales targets.

S&P 500 stock Vertex ranks second in the Medical-Biomed/Biotech industry group. VRTX has a 99 Composite Rating. Its Relative Strength Rating is 94 and its EPS Rating is 99.

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Cardinal Health Stock
CAH stock advanced 3.2% to 73.03 Friday, clearing a 71.22 buy point from a shallow cup-with-handle base and hitting a record high. But volume was light on the breakout. CAH stock leapt 7.3% for the week.

Cardinal Health stock’s relative strength line has also been trending up for months.

The cup-with-handle base is part of a base-on-base pattern, forming just above a cup base cleared on Aug. 11.

Cardinal Health, based in Dublin, Ohio, offers a wide assortment of health care services and medical supplies to hospitals, labs, pharmacies and long-term care facilities. The company reports that it serves around 90% of hospitals and 60,000 pharmacies in the U.S.

S&P 500 stock Cardinal Health will report Q1 2023 earnings on Nov. 4. Analysts forecast earnings falling 26% to 96 cents per share. Sales are expected to increase 10% to $48.3 billion, according to FactSet.

Cardinal Health stock ranks first in the Medical-Wholesale Drug/Supplies industry group, ahead of McKesson (MCK), which is also showing positive action. CAH stock has a 94 Composite Rating out of 99. It has a 97 Relative Strength Rating and an EPS rating of 73.

Steel Dynamics Stock
STLD shares shot up 8.5% to 92.92 on Friday and soared 19% on the week, coming off a Steel Dynamics earnings beat Wednesday night.

Shares blasted above an 88.72 consolidation buy point Friday after clearing a trendline Thursday. STLD stock is 17% above its 50-day line, definitely extended from that key average.

Steel Dynamics’ latest consolidation could be seen as part of a larger base going back six months.

Steel Dynamics topped Q3 earnings views with EPS rising 10% to $5.46 while revenue grew 11% to $5.65 billion. The steel producer’s outlook is optimistic despite weaker flat rolled steel pricing. STLD reports its order activity and backlogs remain solid.

The Fort Wayne, Indiana-based company is among the largest producers of carbon steel products in the U.S. It engages in metal recycling operations along with steel fabrication and produces myriad steel products.

How Millett Grew Steel Dynamics From A Three Employee Business

STLD stock ranks first in the Steel-Producers industry group. STLD stock has a 96 Composite Rating out of 99. It has a 90 Relative Strength Rating, an exclusive IBD Stock Checkup gauge for share-price movement that tops at 99. The rating shows how a stock’s performance over the last 52 weeks holds up against all the other stocks in IBD’s database. The EPS rating is 98.

Genuine Parts Stock
GPC stock gained 2.8% to 162.35 Friday after the company topped earnings views with its Q3 results on Thursday. For the week GPC advanced 5.1% as the stock held its 50-day line and is in a flat base.

GPC has an official 165.09 flat-base buy point after a three-week rally, according to MarketSmith analysis.

The relative strength line for Genuine Parts stock has rallied sharply to highs over the past several months.

On Thursday, the Atlanta-based auto parts company raised its full-year guidance on growth across its automotive and industrial sales.

Genuine Parts earnings per share advanced 19% to $2.23 and revenue grew 18% to $5.675 billion in Q3. GPC’s full-year guidance is now calling for EPS of $8.05-$8.15, up from $7.80-$7.95. The company now forecasts revenue growth of 15%-16%, up from the earlier 12%-14%.

During the Covid pandemic, supply chain constraints caused a major upheaval in the auto industry, sending prices for new and used cars to record levels. This has made consumers more likely to hang on to their existing vehicles for longer, driving mileage higher and boosting demand for auto replacement parts.

Fellow auto stocks O’Reilly Auto Parts (ORLY) and AutoZone (AZO) have also rallied near buy points amid the struggling market. O’Reilly reports on Oct. 26.

IBD ranks Genuine Parts first in the Retail/Wholesale-Auto Parts industry group. GPC stock has a 96 Composite Rating. Its Relative Strength Rating is 94 and it has an EPS Rating of 89.

Web Site Promotion – Keyword Secrets

What is the secret of finding the right keywords for your web site promotion? The quality of your keyword research will be directly reflected in the quality of your web site promotion. Quality research requires the right tools. The more tools in your web site promotion toolbox,the more information you will access. There is no such thing as too much information when it comes to keywords. The more informed you are about your keywords, the better chance you have to make your web site promotion a successful one.Keyword research is a unique form of market research. It is always dynamic, as are Google and the Internet itself. Keyword research skill should evolve and grow along with Internet marketing skill. It will correlate closely with your success as an Internet Marketer. Every owner of an Internet business should understand the importance of keywords and keyword research to their success.You don’t have to limit your choice of keywords only to a specific business you want to promote on the Internet. Your web site promotion could be a blog about something that interests you, and a subject on which you are knowledgeable. It may be possible to garner enough traffic to produce profitable results from a blog about almost any subject that you are interested enough in to write about. Your writing subject does not have to promote only your business opportunity. There are many examples of profitable blogs and web sites that started from a personal interest or hobby.Where can you find the right tools to research your web site promotion keywords ? A good place to start is with a simple Google search. Take a look at the numbers in the upper right hand corner of the results page from any Google search. This number indicates the total indexed number of web sites that have those keywords on their web site. Even though the number may seem very large, many of the sites just mention the keywords without specifically targeting them.It is important to know where the keywords appear on the site. Sometimes keywords may appear in the URL, (Internet address), in the title, or simply in the text of the page. A search for keywords in web page URL’s would be inurl:keyword where your keywords would substitute for the word “keyword”. A search for intitle:keyword would indicate which web pages used the keyword(s) in the title of the page. A search for intext:keyword would reveal the pages that listed the keyword(s) somewhere on the page in readable or visible text.By the way, one of the most important things on any web site in terms of search engine optimization is to use keywords in the title of the page. Note: search engine optimization or SEO, is the practice of using knowledge of Google to gain a high search engine position or ranking.For much more specific information on traffic volumes for particular keywords, there is a great tool from Google called Google AdWords Keyword tool. This is a free Google service that supplies a wealth of information. You can get a good idea of the traffic for your keywords in the previous month, and the average monthly traffic for the previous year. It also provides a long list of related or additional keywords, and the corresponding traffic levels.Another free tool you can use is the free keyword suggestion tool from Wordtracker. Note: the paid version is even better. This is a very interesting web site promotion tool that gives you a weighted number that indicates the value and level of competition for a particular set of keywords. A number between 75 and 100, or higher, usually indicates that your chosen keywords are good ones. A number closer to zero, indicates less desirable keywords.An additional tool available at no charge is the keyword discovery tool. It gives you one hundred of the best keywords related to your keywords. It claims to look across various search engines to give a broad view of search engine results. There is also a paid version that gives you a twelve month history.There are also various types of software that do keyword research. If you decide to invest in this type of software, it is recommended to find companies that offer a trial version. There are some software programs of this type that are merely marketing tools to sell search engine optimization services. Caveat emptor is the word here. (Buyer beware.)This it just a brief overview or introduction to keyword research. Any web site promotion effort should prioritize thorough keyword research, and recognize it as an essential element of success.