Thursday, July 25, 2024

Instant Customers! Things To Do To Get A Customer Now

In tough times, in bountiful times, in what ever kind of times you find yourself in remember the power of marketing. In fact, as has been pointed out in this column before, marketing is not an expense that should be cut during tough times. It is an area that deserves more spending and certainly more attention. The reason for this obviously is to grow the revenue side of the income statement as we all strive for a new break even point and beyond.

Many types of marketing programs work; many actions can be suggested and tried. Some of these are very effective but can be more medium to long term. Sometimes, especially in tough times, a business can have the normal patience towards this medium and long term time frame. Sometimes, however when a business is struggling or when increased revenue is needed, there is not necessarily the proper amount of time needed that some marketing programs take. Sometimes a business needs a shot of revenue for a, quicker than normal, fix. In all of these circumstances a long drawn out marketing program and plan is not always the answer. Businesses are looking for more immediate, shorter term results.

Given that scenario, here are 5 things that a business can do today, to not only get an order, but to get a new customer. Gaining a customer and gaining the business vs. just getting an order certainly is more important, especially when calculating the lifetime value of such a customer acquisition.

1. Call the local Chamber of Commerce. Sometimes an Area Business Association or other Civic organization will work. Ask to speak to the Executive Director, one board member and/or one committee head. For each one of these three, identify yourself and your company. State your objective as wanting to meet one person within the organization other than them to work together with; one person within the organization that may be able to help grow your business. Sometimes a good “power partner” can be identified, i.e. that business partner in a similar industry or service area, who shares clients much like yours. A good example of this for a printing company is a graphic design company or a sign company. Another good power partner example is an attorney and life insurance specialist. This effort is an extension of networking and starts dialogue that could return substantially for both partners involved.

2. Obtain a letter of recommendation from a customer in a geographical area. This can be a city, region or even an office building. Hand deliver this letter of recommendation with your own letter of introduction to all others in that area. “We’re already in your building and that’s good for you. We are doing business with ABC Company that is right in your area, therefore we can meet with you often or now to discuss your projects and the same benefits that we are offering ABC Company .” Sometimes customers are more apt to do business with you when they know you are very accessible and always around. The endorsement from a current customer lends tremendous credibility to you as you strive to build the trust and confidence necessary to start doing business with a new customer. People like to do business with people they like and know. When that isn’t possible, they like to do business with people their friends and associates like and know.

3. Broadcast faxes and broadcast emails are effective. Some people don’t like them and will ask to be un-subscribed to such communication. Please respect these requests. It is just like a customer you are mailing to requesting to be removed from your mailing list. We all will encounter them. It’s a fact of our business life and all the marketing we do, however it can be an effective marketing too. Even go as far as to publish your “privacy policy” on your e-mail or fax communication. It can be as simple as, “We respect your privacy. If for any reason you wish to discontinue receiving these communications, just contact us.”

To the list, send a message offering a free special report or something free related to what you do. Free Information offered, works well, is of value and can be produced easily by you. After all, providing value to a customer is what you do anyway. Other questions that can be asked when offering free information are: a.) who is the person primarily responsible for the purchase of printed items and b.) what is the best time of day to drop off the free information. Once that free information is requested by your prospect or customer, personally deliver the free report or information along with other information on your company’s capabilities and offerings. We all know how hard it is, sometimes, to get in front of the actual print buyer or buying influence. Offering free information like this actually is the equivalent to an instant appointment and can be capitalized on instantly.

4. Call someone in an affiliated business and ask to share a prospect/customer/lead or list. Exchange one for one. Affiliated businesses are listed above under “Power Partners”. It was once said that when two people exchange a dollar bill, they each have a dollar. When they exchange a friend, lead, list or customer, they each then have two friends, leads, lists or customers. You’d be surprised who will participate with you on this one, especially if you offer mailing services, list acquisition services, and other marketing that your power partner could benefit from.

5. Send letters directly to current customers asking for referrals. This will further support top of mind awareness with your customer. Your best prospect still is a current customer. One of the reasons they are your best prospect is because they already know you, trust you and have confidence in your work. These are the types of benefits they want their friends and associates to have also. Directly asking them for others that could share in the same benefits that they receive will turn up a few “warm” people to call on. This should be part of an ongoing marketing plan but can work also in the short term. Some companies have had success with telephone blitzes, using direct referral requests as the basis of the calls. Sometimes a customer has a referral but doesn’t think of it until you ask them or remind them of who can best benefit from your services and products.

These are instant, short term strategies for gaining customers. These have worked when businesses are in trouble, at the bottom of a sales cycle, when businesses want to fill new capacity or just generally when a boost in sales/revenue is needed. Just like any other marketing program, it has to be targeted, worked and followed up upon. These short term actions should be a part of the marketing plan but not the only part of the plan. Remember, marketing is made up of many, many, many things. These 5 short term items are only part of those, “many, many things.” Planning and organizing these 5 steps will yield a short term boost to your customer list and a rise in revenue.

Al Lautenslager is a speaker, author, business owner, consultant, a
certified guerrilla marketing coach who helps businesses and
professionals increase their revenue through focused marketing and
an increased client base. He is the bestselling co-author of
Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days and a featured business coach for
entrepreneur.com. He can be contacted at al@market-for-profits.com
or through his website, http://www.market-for-profits.com.

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