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Fresh Threads: Ecommerce and cold calls

  1. Kat Haylock

    Kat Haylock Community Editor Staff Member

    Posts: 176 Likes: 77
    2 |

    Good Afternoon UKBFers!

    Welcome to Fresh Threads, our roundup of the most engaging topics from the last seven days. 

    UKBF Content saw some fantastic articles this week: webgeek outlined the factors to take into account when setting targets for sales people, David Reinhardt shared his CRM new year's resolutions and Scott Millar talked us through what he's learnt from six months of Youtube marketing. Thanks to everyone who's contributed so far: if you're interested in writing for us in future, get in touch with our editor Chris Goodfellow.

    Here are this week's top picks:

    1. Starting a new income stream that isn’t really suited to my personality

    Tiger Lily, General Business

    Looking for an alternate stream of income to support her small online craft business, Tiger Lily has found a market niche she believes could be profitable. The project requires very little investment and her market research shows that there are plenty of opportunities. However, she’s naturally introverted and worries that “being a front-of-house person” is not suited to her personality.  

    A motivating read for everyone who's encountered The Fear in the workplace, and certainly one to bookmark for your next public speech.

    The Byre: In business, being able to speak in public is a skill you will have to learn sooner or later, so you might as well do it now!

    japancool: Assuming you actually enjoy your craftwork, I suspect you will find teaching kids and passing on your skills is more agreeable than you think. Almost all of my employees are natural introverts and were not keen on being customer-facing. Yet, after doing it and finding out that what that meant was talking to people about the hobby that they themselves loved, they all love doing it.

    BTON Agency: It is hard to take control of a room or group, but as with all things, it gets easier in time. I would suggest doing a number of trial classes with friends and family so you get used to presenting. Then it’s a case of giving it a go; it'll be scary, but as with everything, it will become better with time.

    2. Advice on selling online?

    pinkgoodesign, E-commerce 

    Pinkgoodesign currently sells her products on eBay, but she's becoming tired of eBay taking a share of her profits every month. She asks for recommendations of alternative online stores or marketplaces.

    Full of well-articulated advice on how to move on from eBay and reap the benefits of your own store.

    Clinton: The secret is to have your own e-commerce site. You find new customers on eBay and then cultivate them and sell more stuff to them directly. That's why some of your competitors are absorbing hefty fees and maybe even selling on those platforms at a loss. Stop treating platforms as destinations for your customers and start treating them as tools to build your own customer base.

    Total Web Solutions: Using a site/store builder such as Wix might be OK to start out with, but there will be less flexibility and options (particularly with payment options) compared to having your own website on something like WooCommerce (WordPress).

    Paul Norman: The key is not so much the platform you use, but the skill of the builder and the effectiveness of the marketing you do afterwards. If you just build a site and do not understand how to market it, your sales will be approximately zero.

    3. The truth about B2B cold calling and cold approach

    butlerservice, General Business

    butlerservice asks the community for their views on cold calling: do cold calls make people seem desperate or untrustworthy, and how can you successfully approach potential clients if you don’t have an immediate connection to them?

    Cold calling is a perennial source of debate on the forums: if you're interested in reading further about it, this thread's another great place to start.

    BTON Agency: I am forever getting calls asking to speak to the business owner, and telling me that they can save me money or increase my business. I almost always hang up on them. However, if I get a call regarding a new product or service and they ask me for an appointment in the near future - either over the telephone or in person - I almost always take these.

    Edd Dutton: I've found 90% of my work comes from word of mouth. We've tried cold calling in the past as a test but found the relationships with the clients feel synthetic: we prefer to speak to people.

    Alan: Business to business cold calling can work, if you target correctly. If you target businesses that are used to handling phone enquiries and just like talking on the phone – for example, recruitment agents - then you may well get a better reception than, say, cold calling techies like me and hands on people like painters that concentrate when we work and hate interruptions.

    4. Interested to know how much you focus on marketing?

    DNJ, Sales, Marketing & PR

    At the early stages of his business, DNJ queries how much focus people are putting on marketing. He’s struggling to decide on a marketing channel to invest in and finding it difficult to settle on a budget. Though he’s considering content marketing, he’s concerned that oversharing knowledge might undercut his immediate value.

    UKBF Regular columbo really nails it with a reply that's both light-hearted and insightful: read his full post here.

    webgeek: Marketing is often an 80:20 rule. Within your marketing, spend 20% of your time on content and 80% of your time on getting the word out. Within your company, spend 80% of your time on marketing and 20% of your time on servicing clients and you'll have so many clients you won't have time to service them

    WebLink Plus: Peter Drucker said "Because its purpose is to create a customer, the business has two - and only two - functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results, all the rest are costs."

    columbo: Don't worry about undercutting your value. If anything, people become more valued because they "wrote a book on it". I've never read a headline like "Demand for leading heart surgeon dries up after the publication of his textbook ". It doesn't work like that! On the contrary, quality content just bolsters your position in the market. Or imagine Jamie Oliver saying "nope, not publishing another book because people ain't going to eat in my restaurants...".

    That's all for now - have a lovely weekend everyone!