Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Third of Only 3 Ways To Grow Your Business: Part 1

Your business, no matter what it sells, can grow in just three ways.

Here they are:

1. Get more customers
2. Get customers to spend more
3. Get customers to buy more often

That's it.

All marketing is a variation on one of these 3 themes, in my experience.

Once you've grasped this simple idea, your marketing will become more powerful and your business will grow faster.

And when you bring God into the equation, by praying for guidance and meditating on the answers you receive, well, the results can be spectacular.

Let's look at the third and final concept in detail: Get customers to buy more often.

Selling more often to customers (also known as back-end sales) is how you uncover the real profits hidden in your business.

Remember: It costs a lot of money to get new customers. Once people have bought from you and are satisfied with your product or service, you’re sitting on a gold mine of future profits. Why?

Your customers know you and trust you. Unless you fail to serve them properly, they’re far more likely to buy from you again than from your competitors. In fact, according to a US Postal Service survey, households are more than 7 times as likely to respond to mail from a company they’ve bought from than one they have never heard of.

So, you must keep your customers coming back for more and more. How?

Here are two simple ways ...

1) Make new offers to them.

If you’ve filled a need for a customer once, you ought to be able to do it again. So, send regular cards and letters with news of your latest products and services. Enclose a coupon or order form to encourage them to buy again NOW -- today -- not tomorrow. 

If demand for your product is seasonal (tax preparation or lawn care, for example), be sure to send clients a letter suggesting they order early to avoid the rush.

If your sales are year-round (a dry cleaner or restaurant, for example), mail postcards or letters to your customers every month or at least every quarter. In every communication, be sure to make an offer on some product or service.

Nightingale-Conant, publishers of business and self-help literature, are masters of this second technique. I bought one tape set from them in August 1997. Since then, they’ve mailed new offers to me at least twice a month. Sometimes I get two in one week. Their persistence has paid off -- I’ve bought more than $1,000 in additional products as a result.

Nightingale-Conant is smart. They know what I like and know how to sell me more of it. And they ought to do thousands of dollars in business with me over my buying lifetime as a result. You can enjoy lifelong sales like this from your clients.

2) Customer clubs/loyalty programs.

Ever get a punch card from a coffee shop offering a free drink after 10 purchases? This is a simple, low-cost way to ensure customers buy again from you and not your competitors. If your business lends itself to repeat purchases (and almost every business does) you can easily create some a club for your customers to reward them for buying from you.

Airlines spend millions of dollars every year on frequent flyer programs -- they must work! Supermarkets spend equally huge sums on customer-loyalty cards that track purchases by bar code. But you can get the same results for far less money.

How? Examples of low-cost, effective loyalty devices include:
  • punch cards (1 free item with every 10 purchases) 
  • closed-door sales (by invitation only) 
  • newsletters (printed and mailed)
  • subscription sales (like the "Book of the Month Club" ... only not books).
It's worth repeating: If people trusted you once with their money, they’re more than inclined to do so again.

Unless the quality or service of your business has plummeted, the only barrier between you and new-found profits is inertia. You MUST make that first move and reach out to your current and past clients.

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