Good customer relations are more important now than ever before. Greater customer awareness of your competition, brought about by the all pervading power of Television Advertising and the exponential growth of the Internet offering products and services.
Sales are the lifeblood of any product or service supplier
If you are in business as a retailer, a tradesman or you have set up an office to supply a professional service such as an account, estate agent, financial advisor, there are certain facts that are common to all these pursuits.
1) Customers both locally and globally have heightened expectations not only over price, value for money, guarantees but especially quality of service.
2) Customer Retention. The hardest job for any businesses is getting the first sale or client. However having won that battle should be just the start of an ongoing process designed to ensure that you block all the exits to keep the customer in and all your competitors out. Be aware however that even the very best businesses still lose customers through the attrition of the everyday facts of life. There will be things you just can't control. People die, move away, or retire and no longer need your services for a variety of reasons, and worst of all if you haven't practiced good customer relations they may have a complaint, either genuine or imagined and as a consequence refuse to use your services ever again.
It is said that from this catalogue of causes a business can lose anywhere up to 10% of turnover in any one year. Therefore it is a fact your business is dying unless you counter this effect by actively pursuing ways to bring new customers in through your door.
There are numerous ways that any business can approach this problem but they all come under the heading of Marketing.
Marketing Your Business.
Before you spend a penny on any of the many ways you could advertise to find new clients you would be well advised to first get a better understanding of the business you already have.
Did you know that 80% of the revenue you already produce is coming from 20% of the work you do?
Did you know that 20% of the products or services you sell produce 80% of your profits?
Do you know which products or services they are?
How can I say and prove these things about your business?
Many years ago while I was working towards my Degree in Business Studies I learned about Pareto's Law. Pareto was a brilliant academic who studied the distribution of wealth across the known world in his day and concluded that 80% of the wealth was in the ownership of 20% of the population. More importantly he went on testing this pattern of distribution across other areas of productivity and showed that, give or take a few % it applied in all aspects of manufacturing and commerce. This effect has been tested and verified as a Law as immutable as the Law of Gravity by other researchers and is taught as a business principle in esteemed centres of learning such as Harvard.
So it does apply to your business and the best thing you can do is test the distribution of effort to profit in every activity that is undertaken by you and your employees and take appropriate actions to make better use of the efforts made.
These actions alone in many are sufficient to multiply the existing profits of a company.
Use the data you have gathered from this exercise as a benchmark from which to measure the growth arising from new actions that come under the banner of Marketing.
If you want to offset the natural losses to you business (indicated earlier,) you need to bring in 10% more customers next year to simply stand still and an even higher percentage if you want your business to grow.
Therefore it is essential that you create a budget out of your ongoing income to be spent on ways and means of acquiring new customers.
Now that you have examined the profit share from each of your products and your services you are in a better position to determine where to apply the budget.
In the course of my career in Sales in the Advertising and Insurance industries I have interviewed thousands of business proprietors and directors and I have observed a glaring example of lost opportunities in the vast majority of them.
They do not create a database in which to collect all the information they get on each customer including personal details like birthdays, family and business relationships, products and services purchased and particularly email addresses. This information is important because you are in a relationship business. People will only continue to buy from people they Know Like and Trust. The first item on your marketing budget is to create and fill up the detail in your database of all the current, past and future customers as they arise. It will pay you to spend some of the non-productive time (that you have found through examining the distribution of your efforts (Pareto's Law) in doing this or otherwise hire a part time person to gather and record this information for you. Because of the wonder of the Internet today make sure that you prioritise the gathering of email addresses of all customers even if you have to ring them and ask for them.
This is your customer base and is a major business asset. Like all assets, if you don't use it you lose it.
This list of emails will give you access to the cheapest and most efficient form of advertising ever invented. Used properly Email Marketing will ensure that clients will get to Know you through your regular friendly messages. They will grow to Like you because of the extra value you can offer because you have now learned to avoid wasted effort and expenditure on low turnover products or services.
They will get to Trust you because you are in regular contact which suggests reliability and Trustworthiness.
If you do no more the above actions you will be and remain well ahead of your competition and on the high road to success.
Next spend a bit of your budget hiring a young techie person to improve your emails into audio and video versions which will add an extra dynamic to your image and the power of your messages.
One last thing, in every message you send to you customer base, always ask them to "forward it "to their friends, over time this will bring you in a stream of presold clients.
About the author: Don Westacott Is a Published Author with 40+ year's success in sales/ sales management in Telesales in both the Advertising and Insurance Industries. His New Sales Course title "The Master Skills In Selling" Is currently available at a terrific Early Bird Discount as he needs more reviews for his Marketing Campaign.
Author: Don Westacott