Thursday, September 9, 2010

New Marketing Strategies for Small Business Professionals

I've just released the 2010 edition of "Guaranteed Marketing for Small Business Professionals," an updated version of the Special Report I first wrote to rave reviews in 1998.

It's free, to answer your next question.

In it, you'll find 10 ways to double your profits by working smarter, not harder.

Here's an excerpt ...

How to Create Referral Systems That Turn Your Customers into a 24-hour Sales Force

Fact: customers who are referred to you will spend more and are easier to sell than any other group. Yet, how many small businesses have a system in place to generate referrals automatically?

Almost none.

A steady stream of referrals is the lifeblood of any successful small business. Because when you can depend on 20%, 40%, 50% -- or more -- of your business coming in through referrals, your business becomes self-sustaining. Which lets you enjoy life a lot more.

Referrals are the best form of advertising. Why? They’re credible, valuable and cost-effective.

Referrals are credible because when one friend tells another about a business he or she loves, that recommendation carries as much weight as a celebrity endorsement. You won’t have to work as hard to gain the prospect’s trust.

With traditional advertising, however, credibility takes time to build. A prospect may have to see your ad five, six or seven times before feeling comfortable enough to call you.

Referrals are valuable. When customers are referred to your business by friends, they usually spend more than people who have never heard of you before. My own experience has proven this. Yours, too, I’ll bet.

Finally, referrals are cost-effective. In most cases, it literally costs you nothing to get them.

Now, here are 5 simple, proven ways to get more referrals ...

1) Welcome complaints

Studies show that complaining customers are actually more interested in staying with your business than people who say nothing. So, bend over backwards to satisfy complainers. Recognize that every customer service problem is a chance for you to save the day. When you do, your happy customers will tell their friends.

2) Listen for referral signals

In all your conversations with clients (and non-clients), listen for phrases like: "I have a friend who's looking for something like this." When you hear such signals, ask for permission to contact those people.
3) Swap clients during busy times

Call a competitor some distance away, who isn't a threat to your market. Offer to take on extra work for them when they're super busy. Of course, offer to send your surplus business to them, too. I did this with another resume writer in nearby St. Paul, MN (and I got 10% of every sale he made).
4) Observe the 80/20 Rule

If 80% of your referrals come from 20% of your clients (and they will), focus on this group of very important persons. Cater to them, pamper them, make them feel special. They'll return the favor with continued referrals.

In my business, all clients who referred three or more people get a magazine subscription in addition to the $10 I sent them for each new client. This way, they were reminded of my business every month for a year, which produced more referrals.
5) Observe the Rule of Three

Give away not one or two, but three business cards to every client. Instead of just letting them sit in a file drawer, your clients are more likely to give these extra cards to friends.

To sum up, referrals are like found money. And they're essential, too, because a certain percentage of your clients will always move away or switch to another business, no matter what you do.

To get referrals, all it takes is a little effort on your part to encourage the process. The results can boost your profits by 20%, 30%, 50% -- or more -- year after year.

To get your free copy of "Guaranteed Marketing for Small Business Professionals," click here

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