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Get more value out of your time and increase your sales with these 3 tips.

As a small business owner, the risk of burnout is great because the completion of every task falls onto your shoulders.  So how can you avoid the effects of such a burden?  By creating a mantra out of these four simple words: work smarter, not harder.

Tip #1: Know Your Target Market

In order to effectively find prospective clients and pitch your business idea, you need to have a thorough understanding of your target market.  It can be as simple as knowing that the target market of a lawn mowing/snow removal service is homeowners.  Or, it can be as complex as knowing that 90% of your current customers have between 50 and 200 employees, and an annual revenue of $5- to $10-million

But how do you go about collect information like that about a prospect?  Or what if you don’t know that information about your current customers?  Business profiles allow you to research and qualify sales leads before you even call them.  For example, what they spend in terms of advertising, how many employees and PC’s they have, and even their area competitors.  Going into a meeting with the ability to estimate what they have to spend can help cut through any objections that might come up.

The problem is, business profiles and credit reports have historically cost small business owners hundreds of dollars.  However, recently started offering this information for free on their mobile app.  All you have to do is search for your prospect or best client, and you’ll find a list of businesses just like them.

And by the way, is also offering a free trial of their sales leads database at

Tip #2: Make Time Management a Priority

A lack of organization sabotages efficiency and productivity.  Similarly, it can negatively affect perceptions of you and your business.  Keeping all of your appointments in one calendar can help you become infinitely more organized.  Even the simplest phone’s calendar is better than nothing!

Make a to-do list.  Just the act of physically crossing something off your to-do list gives you the ability to focus on the results rather than the time spent on the project.  And it helps you to prioritize and keep track of everything that needs to get done.  It may also be helpful to keep a couple of different to do lists: one for daily tasks, and a running, longer list of things that – while not pressing – will eventually need to get done.  Also, put the tasks on your to-do list in order of priority.

Tip #3: Call Your Existing Customers

Let’s be honest, it’s a lot easier to keep and grow your existing clients than it is to find new ones.  Your customers are the ones currently paying your bills, not prospects.  And each of your customers is getting calls daily from your competitors.  As a business owner, you are going to have to continually earn your customers loyalty.

If your customer retention program is effective, it will give you the ability identify the customers who will be the most loyal and the best source of long-term income.  You can do this a number of ways like web-analytics, or social media.  The best advice?  Figure out who the top 20% of your customers are and call them once a month.  Identify the next best 50% and call them quarterly.  The final 30% of your current customers?  Call them every six months.  Be sure to make regular contact, and your customers will know they are important to you.

Bottom line: the more information you have on prospects and current customers – either through organized notes and follows ups, or finding data – the more sales you will be able to make; thus, giving you the ability to hire people and delegate.  You’ll be working smarter, not harder, and grow your sales.


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