21 Ways to Grow in a Low or No-Growth Economy...
Okay, so officially the UK's worst ever recession is now at an end. Just.
But if you're waiting for the boom to make a difference to your business - you could be in for a long wait.
I believe that now, more than ever, creating growth is down to you as a business leader.
Implement two or three things from this list in your business today, and you'll start to see the difference.
Implement them all, and 2010 is likely to be the best year you've ever had!
1. Talk to Your Customers - applying the MFR Rule
The people most likely to buy from you right now are the ones who've spent the most money (M) with you, the most frequently (F) and the most recently (R). And that means your existing customers. When was the last time you emailed, phoned, mailed or contacted your customer list? You should be contacting your customers at least 5 to 20 times per year.
2. Throw out Your Budget
When you see marketing as a cost, you try to do as little of it as possible. Instead, calculate what profit your best marketing is generating, and suddenly you'll see it as an investment in your future success and growth!
3. Talk about the Benefits
Don't tell people about what you sell; tell them what it does for them. Show how it saves them time, saves them money, makes life easier or makes other people envy them, and they'll buy!
4. Apply the 80/20 Rule
20% of your customers generate 80% of your profit. 20% of your marketing generates 80% of your leads. Find out where your best 20% is, and make it your focus.
5. Test Google AdWords
Google AdWords is one of the fastest, most cost-effective ways of driving high-quality, profitable traffic to your website (or your 'phone) and winning new customers. Set up an account today for £5 and a test campaign from just a couple of pounds per day. If you don't have the time, confidence or skills - don't mess around get a professional (like us) to help.
6. Ask for Referrals
When are your customers most delighted with you? Right at the point of purchase, after they've just committed to hand over their money. So ask them there and then to refer friends, family and colleagues to you. And make it easy – why not give them 5 business cards to hand out?
7. Reverse the Risk
Silence the nagging voice of doubt in your prospect's mind. For most products and some (but not all) services a free trial or a money-back guarantee shows confidence in your offering and can help to inspire a purchase.
8. Try a Special Offer
Adding the right special offer to a sales letter or email can increase response rates up to 3,000%! What extra value can you offer your audience to make them take action now?
9. Abandon "Quotes" for Good!
A quote says "here's the cost: shop around". Instead, issuing a "Proposal" says "for your investment, here's how we'll meet and exceed your objectives, and here's how we'll get started". If you quote for business, try this new approach.
10. Cross Sell
Don't feel awkward cross selling and up selling. If you believe in what you're offering, you owe it to your customers to let them know how they can benefit. By the way, getting a repeat or additional order can be 6 to 10 times less costly than winning a new customer!
11. Test "Second Interest" Offers
If your competitors are slogging it out with "% off" offers, try offering something different. A bottle of wine, movie tickets, gym membership, magazine subscription, high street vouchers, an iPod, a Radio Controlled Car … the value depends on the sale you're courting, but think outside the box. We've seen these offers work wonders, even with professional services and industrial business-to-business sales.
12. Create a Great First Impression
Every single time! Whether you're greeting customers face-to-face, on the phone, or in writing (on paper or online), make sure you show you're absolutely the best company to deal with.
13. Write to One Person
When you're writing sales letters, emails, web copy or any other marketing material, picture your ideal customer sitting down in front of you ... and write down what you'd say to make them buy what you're selling.
14. Form Strategic Alliances
Your loyal customers trust you, and will value other companies you recommend to them ... so form alliances with related but non-competing businesses and "cross refer" each other to open a new source of leads. This is low cost, high return marketing and could double the size of your potential customer base overnight.
15. Be Customer Focused
Buyers don't care that you've been in business since 1943, or that you're committed to providing excellent service. They want to know "what's in it for them". Make sure your marketing tells them how they'll benefit from dealing with you.
16. Show You Really Care
The biggest reason customers change loyalties (up to 68% in surveys) is "perceived indifference" – they don't think you care whether they come back to buy from you or not. Make sure you show your customers that you really do value them.
17. Package Your Products
Make it easy for customers to spend more, by showing them what's on offer. Offer polish with shoes, insurance to cover a tax inspection costs with your accountancy service, prongs and aprons with barbecues ... create a product or service package and your average order value will increase. Plus, you'll be giving your clients better service.
18. Use Email Broadcast Software
If you're sending out sales emails via Microsoft Outlook or your standard email programme, you'll be staggered to see the "fail" rate. A relatively small investment in a "white listed" email company could see your success and delivery rates multiply by 500% or more. Email marketing (to your database) is now very successful.
19. Be Specific
People are sceptical of broad claims. "Bigger", "Better", "Faster", "Cheaper". Give them specifics that seem irrefutable to add credibility to your claims, and to give your prospects confidence in what you're offering. Rather than "over 20% more efficient", say "21.7% more efficient". Use the language of the scientist not the salesman.
20. Use "Bounce-back" Offers
A great way to get your customers back through the doors (or onto your website). When customers buy, give or send them an offer to get a free XYZ when they buy again in, or by, for example the third week of next month.
21. Go Back to the "No's"
Converting 3 enquiries in 10? 2 in 5? Go back to the "No's" and find out what it will take to turn them into a "Yes". It may not take as much as you think; and you've done most of the hard work already. Going from a 3 in 10 conversion rate to 3.3 in 10 will boost your new clients numbers by 10% this year.
Even a booming economy would struggle to match that!
For help or advice on the best and most profitable ways to implement these ideas in your business, call Results Corporation today on 01933 373000.
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