workshop

Cross Selling With Others

So you’ve been reading our posts about selling more and I know what you’re thinking: “I want to make more money without creating the complimentary product/service myself; what are my options?”

The good news is, you can sell more online without the responsibility of creating a whole new product/service! Here are a few ways you can cross sell while working with other businesses or non-profits:

Figure Out Referrals

Looking through your contact form inquiries, social media comments, and email inbox, I’m sure there are some things that people are asking you for that you are unable or unwilling to do.

Let’s say you are a greenhouse but you get lots of comments asking where people can get sod. What you could do is contact companies and get their information and make it available on your website. “Hi Debbie, thanks for asking us about sod. We don’t sell it but Company X and Company Y both do. Here is a link on our website about their services, price points, and more: thewebsite.com/faq/all-about-sod.”

You can create a more formal relationship with a complimentary business in the way of an affiliate relationship, partnership, or joining a referral networking group like BNI.

No matter how formal or informal, working with complimentary businesses means you can steer your customer (or potential customer) in a good direction so they still feel taken care of by you and hopefully, that other company appreciates and reciprocates, either with a portion of the sale you generate or by sending referrals your way, too.

Consider The Subscription Box

Let’s say you sell something that goes well with other somethings… but you don’t necessarily want (or need) to carry it in your retail shop. Consider making a subscription box, where customers subscribe for a monthly price (or slightly lower quarterly/annual) price to get a box of stuff around a theme.

An excellent example of this is Willie Wags right out of Bangor Maine. They send out boxes of stuff collected from different businesses celebrating women entrepreneurs (they’ve recently moved to a retail location in downtown Bangor too but they could have kept it subscription box only if they wanted I’m sure).

Maybe you sell stationary and have connections with others who sell cool pens, stickers, etc. You could probably make some boxes including the products of your business friends (and yours) at a price that is lower than retail but allows you to get in front of new customers. (Aside: I’m not sure why no one has done a ‘Bar Harbor Box’ yet, I think that would kill!)

Host an event together

Events take a lot of bandwidth but they are good ways to attract new customers whether it’s an open house, a workshop, or something else.

Finding a complimentary business to help you host an event is a great way to not only divide the work but make the event more fun. For example, if you are a hardware store but you don’t do party rentals, it may be cool to have a cookout/block party with sales going on while you have a few rental pieces of equipment (bouncy houses and slush machines anyone) set up too. There’s also a likelihood of more attendees because you get the draw of two (or more) businesses- customers of one business may show up and decide to become customers of the other business, too (especially if there’s a bouncy house involved).

In other words, cross selling doesn’t just have to be your stuff. It actually works well when it isn’t. By figuring out ways to work with other entrepreneurs in a complimentary space, you can all win together.

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Hosting A Webinar: The What

So we’ve talked about the mechanics of hosting a webinar but there is an even bigger question: What will your webinar be about?

Webinars I have seen go by:

As you can see, they range from general to specific, from regular on-demand offerings (ex: every Thursday) to one-time events.

But they all have some things in common: Most webinars are free, interactive, and offer participants a way to learn about something they care about. 

Most people have initial questions about the technology of webinars, which can feel intimidating. But once they realize the setup is doable, most people suffer another round of paralysis.

“What am I going to talk about for 30 to 90 minutes?”

We wanted to give you a couple places to start and a sample outline to frame your thinking.

Answer a question people ask you ALL the time

An example for us may be, “How do I get more people to like my Facebook business page?”

Maybe as I brainstorm, I can think of ten helpful ideas, each with a real life example illustrating the point. Add an introduction and a call to action at the end and that is easily 30 minutes of content!

Feel free to give a disclaimer. For example, you are a lawyer giving an informational session about business structures but can’t advise any individuals in the webinar with what they should do, but you still know enough to be valuable in a general sense.

Bonus is when you have a prospective customer or friend ask you this question in the future, you have a response ready to send them.

Information they can’t get anywhere else

Let’s pretend you’re getting married on an island in Maine. Can you rent portapotties there? Can the church hold 100 people? What is parking like? These questions will involve at least half a day of phone calls… unless you are an area wedding planner or caterer.

If you have informal but useful knowledge, introducing it to people in a webinar is a great ‘social proof’ that can give people the confidence to book your planning service.

Worried about giving away the milk for free? Think of narrowing this down: “Choosing Your Wedding Venue On Mount Desert Island” could not only be well attended virtually but valuable to those attending in and of itself, leaving you plenty of room to still get hired and help them with other things.

A group consulting session

If you feel brave, holding a live Q and A (maybe a brief presentation at the beginning to make sure everyone is starting with the same basic understanding of what you are talking about) can be a great format. You can have people submit questions while registering to get a little prepared but being off the cuff knowledgeable can help your webinar participants with their specific questions while showing you are intimate with your subject matter.

Note: Most people in webinars lurk rather than participate so you’ll really need to encourage people and groom them to send questions in many cases.

Much like structuring a blog post, you want your webinar subject to be specific enough to attract customers but give you enough breathing room to benefit a large group of people. 

If you have a couple ideas, take a quick Facebook or email poll of your customers about which they’d prefer to learn about. Or ask us, we are always happy to give an opinion!

In short, you know something that’s webinar worthy. Now go figure out what it is!

 

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

BEC Story #5: Flyer Workshop

flyerworkshopWhen people want to work with you, sometimes they’ll try to get you to do things outside your pay grade.

I take it as a compliment but am quick to deflect. I’ve been asked to design rack cards, be an event planner, co-create an app, start a real estate related business, and more.

Contrary to what some believe, I have said ‘no’ to a lot of things.

The upside to saying no to things outside my skill-set (besides my own personal sanity) is getting to meet and work with people who ARE good at those things.

Problem: Several people asked me for help with flyers. It is tangentially related to online marketing because a lot of people share flyers they’ve created on social media and their websites. I bookmarked it in my brain that this was of interest and let it sit there for awhile.

Now I’ll ‘design’ my own stuff (note the air quotes) but print design is NOT my thing and probably never will be. I have a couple print designers I like working with, one who is in the process of getting her business established. (Jillybean Designs did the card designs I’ll talk about in an upcoming story.)

Around the same time, one of my friends, who is a published author, approached me about sending her copyediting work. She likes helping out locally and figured I would know people.

Solution: Somehow, all these things went together in my brain in a coherent way. We decided that Jill (designer), Carrie (copywriter/editor) and I (marketer) would do a ‘Make Awesome Flyers’ workshop together. I made a online registration form on the Anchorspace website (we charged $35 for the two hour workshop), we promoted it to our people, and we split the proceeds three ways.

We really enjoyed doing it and are thinking of taking the show on the road to chambers of commerce, downtown areas, and other business groups. Plus I learned a lot from Jill and Carrie while they were giving their presentations.

Values demonstrated: collaboration, willingness to learn, education, community service, connecting, problem solving

How this story could be better:

More pictures. So during events, I always mean to take pictures but then I’m so busy making coffee and being in the moment that I forget. If you have an event, just have one designated picture taker, even if you have to pay them. In this blog post is the one picture I managed to take.

More video. Carrie Jones, who is a friend who happens to be a New York Times bestselling author, is a really engaging speaker. I should have gotten her on video talking about typos with a passion that was awesome to witness.

BEC Story #4
BEC Story #3
BEC Story #2
BEC Story #1
Why I Am Writing All These Stories About My Business

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.