13 Observations SME Owners Can Put To Practice Now To Do Better Than Your Rival

13 helpful observations for SME owners to do better than your rival…

From someone who has worked in a couple of SMEs:

1) Get your sales script recorded down, especially if you have a good or top salesman who seems to sell very well.

Why? Because, chances are, you can replicate his script with similar success in your other sales staff AND your website and other marketing copy.

Also, by noting down the sales script, commonly raised objections by customers and how to overcome those, your new hires will not have to fumble around by themselves trying to find a good way to sell and help you make more sales.

2) If you have gossip mongers or backstabbers among your staff, get rid of them.. FAST.

Why? Because it shows they have too much time on their hands and aren’t doing the work they should be for you. Also, they usually will be making those who are actually doing work look bad to you. Gonna be bad for the morale of your other staff, too.

3) If it’s your business, keep a close eye on it. Don’t leave it completely alone.

Two examples of what could happen are Chef Wan’s restaurant at Plaza Sing, which eventually had staff not preparing food to his specs. Quote below:

“Chef Wan, 59, was quoted by BERITA Mediacorp about his unhappiness with 1 Market’s management and the drop in food quality.

He said: “The food is not prepared (according to) how I have demonstrated and the chefs do as they please. When I heard what happened there, I got quite angry. – Source: The Straits Times”

Second example: Jones The Grocer

” When an external manager was brought in to save Jones the Grocer last November, it found that the company was spending money without basic rules in place.

Each chef could make food orders with suppliers independently, with no proper accounting procedures, while staff were instructed to order from a specific pool of suppliers, even though they charged higher prices.

At least two staff members were paid exorbitant salaries, and money was spent freely, including $1.5 million to $2 million for the renovation of Jones the Grocer International’s (JTGI) Becasse Bakery outlet in Dempsey Hill in 2013.

The firm’s director, Mr John Manos, who was in charge of running day-to-day operations here, ran the business remotely from Australia. One of the company’s suppliers told The Straits Times he had not met or even spoken to Mr Manos. – Source: Business.AsiaOne”

4) Before blowing wads of cash on digital marketing or the next big, shiny object in marketing…

Fix your service quality and delivery first, or at the same time as you ramp up your marketing efforts. Especially if you notice 1 star or negative reviews on your Facebook page.

Why? Because good marketing and advertising can be a double edged sword. If you have good marketing and ads bringing people to your business, BUT you fail to deliver well, that just means you’re gonna get more complaints. And more people will know about it.

5) Spend good effort retaining your existing customers and keeping them happy. It takes a long time and a lot of effort getting new customers in. But, strangely enough, many business owners seldom do anything to keep them happy and retain them.

6) Yes, we have something to sell, but…

…We can’t be too in love with our products and services. The moment we tell ourselves that “We are the best!”, we’re gonna be in trouble before we know it. Being too in love with our stuff can blind us to the reality of what our (potential) customers really think about it.

7) Never be too busy to improve.

If you can outsource duties and tasks, then outsource them. Train your staff to take over you and your various roles, so that you can focus on how to bring your business higher.

8) Get Martin Edelston’s I-Power book…

…And have it implemented in your company. It’s out of print, but I’m sure you can get a copy off eBay or Brian Kurtz of Titans Marketing LLC. You can search for Brian on Facebook.

9) If you’ve spent thousands on newspaper ads that didn’t get you a single enquiry or sale, it’s not the newspaper’s fault…

(I know many business owners stop advertising in magazines or newspapers because they didn’t get any response from it.)

The problem lies in your ad. Find a good direct response copywriter to do an ad for you, and keep testing it before you spend another $30k (more or less) on a print ad in the papers.

BUT, before any good ad can help you, you must first have a good product or service.

10) B2B? B2C? At the end of the day, you’re still selling to another human being…

Another human being who will be worried that the solution she buys from you or recommends to her boss will get her in trouble. Using labels like “B2B” or “B2C” can remove the fact that we’re all selling to another human being who has the same needs, wants, likes, dislikes and fears like us. So, if you remember that you’re selling to another human being, chances are, you’ll sell better.

11) On the topic of emails…

Don’t be afraid to send more than one email a month to your customers. I know that many are afraid that their customers will leave them if they are “bothersome” by emailing more than once a month.

But, come to think of it, if you only contacted your boyfriend or girlfriend once a month, chances are, he or she will forget about you and find someone else before long!

Contacting your customers more regularly also helps to remind them of your existence.

12) Building your (email) list

Get yourself and/or your staff to collect the email addresses of your customers at the counter before or after they pay. Explain that it’s for your newsletter and that you will send them news of promotions or sales etc from time to time. The place I worked at last time did that, no complaints and very little resistance from the customers about getting their emails.

But, what’s more important than your list is the relationship that you have with them.

13) Be personal

Don’t sign off as “Team” in your emails, website or any other marketing collateral. People like to buy from other people, not a nameless and faceless “Team”.

Sign off with your name, or your staff’s name. Being personal and personable works.

Found these observations useful? Not useful? Let me know in the comments. Thanks in advance!

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