Startup guru Greg Gianforte has famously called it the most important aspect of operating any business. Why then do so many entrepreneurs seem so uncomfortable with the prospect? From debates over the best sales techniques to get your product or service into the hands of customers to ideas about how best to design Websites for optimum “conversion,” it’s clear small business people understand sales is important. Let’s face it. It’s the difference between success and failure in any business. Today’s Small Business Trends roundup has some food for thought for any entrepreneur trying to master the sales process:


Automating the online sales process. Though many old fashioned sales guys may not want to admit it, more and more sales on the Internet is being automated with the focus on optimizing a site so that visits convert to sales. Driving up traffic, or the number of those visits, is a discussion for another day. But for now, we look at how to get your automated sales system in place. Blogtrepreneur

Sales is leading. While increasingly passive forms of selling seem to abound on the Internet and in new ways of marketing and prospecting, Tibor Shanto laments the demise of the assertive sales professional…and he may have a point. At least in the beginning, most entrepreneurs and small business owners will need to do their own selling. And, of course, you should always be ready to sell your business by being an expert at what you do. Sales Blogcast

Can teaching selling make you a better seller? Todd Youngblood thinks so. His post tells the story of how, without any real knowledge or interest in sales, he fell into a job doing just that. Then it came time to teach others, and Todd made the most amazing discovery. That sometimes teaching others how to do something helps us learn more about something too. Could it be the same with sales? Read on. Todd Youngblood’s “SPE” Blog


(Good marketing is also part of prospecting and, so, the sales process. And, of course, marketing and sales, especially for the small business owner or entrepreneur, are part of a single seamless package which includes trying to find the right product and then the right people to buy it. So…)
Give your marketing a checkup. From product or service quality to pricing to sales performance and more, here’s a great way to give your entire sales process a thorough examination. Make sure it’s in tip top health to bring in the cash flow your business needs. Take no chances when it comes to your marketing and sales process. Like taking your health for granted, you may regret it in the end. M4B Marketing

Craigslist in your marketing plan? It may not be the most attractive of Websites, says marketer and blogger Chris Hamilton, but this arguably largest of all Internet classified sections should not be overlooked when it comes to offering your products or services. The site is extremely popular making it a logical place to reach customers. Here are some tips for promoting your business in the digital classified world. Sales Tip A Day

Think you’d like to give this online marketing thing a try? “It isn’t rocket science!” says Christina Giliberti. In fact, it’s something any entrepreneur can learn in time. But there is plenty of research involved in figuring it out. Here are Christina’s own top 10 tips for mastering online marketing. Study her overview and give it a try. Bloggertone


The big picture. Sometimes the key to understanding what might be wrong with the all-important sales in your business has to do with stepping back. What are the really big picture things that are keeping your business from success? It may not be as simple as your product or your sales approach. In fact, more important than any of these isolated issues is the overall philosophy you bring to your business and your customers. Cloud Marketing Labs

Time to change your game plan? Whether on the Internet or off, a key mistake when it comes to maximizing sales is failing to adjust to changes in your market. Businesses will sometimes inexplicably do the same thing that hasn’t been working again and again as if sheer repetition will do the trick. What are they thinking? Perhaps that if something worked once it will work again? Fortunately, retargeting is also valuable when trying to increase revenue. Duct Tape Marketing


It’s not as easy as it sounds. You’ve probably already heard of dropshipping. The basic concept is pretty simple though it may change a bit from business to business. You market items on a Website without actually having any in stock (no overhead.) When someone purchases an item, you collect part of the money and send the rest on to another company who fulfills the order. Sounds easy, right? Well, be aware it’s not quite that simple.


How Yelp can grow your business. You may have heard horror stories about this customer feedback site, but at least one online marketing consultant argues it may be the perfect tool for growing your business. If you don’t have a profile for your business already on Yelp, get one.

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