These ten simple tactics are just that, simple. Each one is a nil cost or low cost ways to improve your business and together they form a formidable armory of weapons at your disposal to make your business grow.
So, read, study and think about them all so that you can devise the best ways to implement them in your business. Here then are ten simple tactics to improve your business.
1. Concentrate your efforts on those people who are most likely to buy from you. If you sell only apples, don’t waste your time on people who really want to buy oranges. Qualify the people who come to you (your prospects) and pre-qualify the viewers and readers of your ads so that you don’t spend all day dealing with lookers and tire kickers. When you qualify the inquiries as they come in, you’ll be able to spend the majority of your time with people who want or need your product or service, want it now and have the ability to pay for it now. All others are just a waste of your time.
2. Get ‘connected’ to your customers, at least the top 20% who may produce as much as 80% of your business. Get in touch with these ones personally and stay in touch with them regularly. Cultivate them and reward them for their loyalty to you. After all, these are the ones who provide the bulk of your income. However, do not neglect the rest of your customers. Assign members of your staff or sales force to look after them as their ‘personal customer care officer’ as these ones, with proper attention have the potential to join the top 20%.
3. Follow up with all qualified prospects, not with blatant sales blurbs or pressure tactics, but do so with additional information on the product or service they inquired about, or to provide free advice, some additional benefits or solutions to their problems. You can offer a free booklet, tips etc or ways to assist in meeting their desired goals. Never, never, never give them a sales pitch without at least offering help, advice or a solution.
4. Don’t take it for granted that your customers and prospects know all the benefits of doing business with you, compared with your competition. The fact is, unless you tell them, they don’t know, and couldn’t care less about you. Customers and prospective customers are selfish people, they want what’s best for them, not you. Think about this for a moment, as a prospective customer, about to spend your dollars on something you want. Do you care about the person you’re doing business with? Or do you want to know ‘What’s in it for me’? Well your customers are the same, so spell out to them all the advantages and benefits of doing business with you instead of your competitor over the road or down the street. This means telling about your great warranty or guarantee, your extended hours of business, your 24/7 home service, your lower prices, your greater range of products, sizes, colors etc. , your uniqueness and whatever else puts you a step ahead of your competition. Even if you don’t do anything differently, tell ‘em what you do because they probably don’t know that your competitors do it too.
5. Spend whatever time and resources are needed to determine your customers’ Marginal Net Worth. This is the amount, in dollars, that a typical customer is worth to you over the duration of the time he does business with you. Without this valuable information you could be handing most of your business over to your competitors. In simple terms a customer’s Marginal Net Worth (or LifeTime Value) is the average profit on each purchase, multiplied by the number of times in a year that he buys from you, multiplied by the number of years he stays your customer. As an example, if a customer’s average purchase is $100 (of which $50 is profit), if he buys 8 times a year and stays with you for 3 years, you net profit from this customers is $50 X 8 X 3 which equals $1,200.00 net profit. This is his Marginal Net Worth. See The Simple Secrets to Business Growth at http://www.better-n-chocolate.com, for detailed information on how to determine your customers’ MNW.
6. Follow up all inquiries promptly. In contemplating the reasons for this use empathy here by putting yourself in the place of your prospective customer. How long would you wait for a follow-up before you went somewhere else. We live in a society where instant gratification is demanded. We want it, and we want it now! So, if a customer has come to you, by phone or in person, get back to him while he is ‘hot. ’ The longer you leave it before you follow up, the ‘colder’ he will get or, worse, the more likely it is that he’ll go to your competitor. Always follow up with useful information, advice or some benefit to him, but never solely with a blatant sales pitch.
7. In any transaction, there is a risk. For the customer the risks include that the item he buys from you will be defective, unsuitable, won’t match his color scheme or some other reason. He needs assurance that the item will be repaired, replaced, exchanged or his money returned if need be. By reversing all those risks and taking them upon yourself you remove those risks from the customer. He will therefore be free of the normal transaction risks and will be more inclined to buy. Yes, you will get a few who may unfairly take advantage of your risk reversal, but you’ll get far more additional business than you will refunds.
8. In a disagreement with a customer, separate personal feelings from business relationships. Hurt feelings can be gotten over in a few hours, a damaged relationship can be financially disastrous and long lasting. Always listen politely to a complaint and act on it on the assumption that the customer is right (even if you feel he is wrong). It’s much better to lose a little face, or a few dollars, if you can salvage and restore a business relationship. And remember this, the old man in the frayed sweater and dirty jeans may have enough cash in that shopping bag he’s carrying to buy and sell you three times over.
9. There are only three ways to grow a business: get more customers, get your customers to buy more, and get them to buy more often.
10. Hidden Assets are items in your business that, on the surface have no fundamental value but which you can sell or exploit to raise cash. These can include: * disused or surplus materials, equipment, appliances or office furniture, * unused space in your warehouse, factory, office or store that you can rent out to a sub-tenant, * a good relationship with your customers (who can provide referrals or bring in new customers), * relationships with your suppliers (who may be willing to meet all or part of your advertising costs, or even supply you with stock on credit), * old merchandise that you have stashed away because you no longer handle those products, * your reputation in the community as a person or business to get free publicity through press or media releases, informative and advisory articles in local newspapers, magazines etc. , radio and/or TV interviews, * component suppliers who may be willing to include you in their marketing at no cost to you or, if you are a component supplier, your customers may be willing to include you in their marketing.
© 2005 Leslie H F Sprankling. All Rights Reserved. Leslie H F Sprankling is an Australian business consultant and author of a number of business manuals and other publications. He has been involved in the start-up and operation of a number of successful businesses over some 40 years. His business experience covers three continents, North America, Africa and Australia. His web-site, http://www.better-n-chocolate.com offers a wide range of business products, including exclusive software, business books and manuals for experienced business people and for those entering business for the first time. For anyone considering how to get into business on the internet without risking large sums of money and time, as well as for some exclusive free software and business advice http://www.better-n-chocolate.com is well worth a visit.
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