January is a great time of year to figure out how you can run your business better than the year before. There is no staying the same. If you are not improving your business marketing, sales and service this year, then you are getting worse than the year before. Here are a few foundational improvements every business must make.
1. Sniper Marketing, Not Shotgun
Too many businesses try to hit everyone with their marketing. The quickest way to waste your marketing dollars is to market to all your target markets at the same time. Remember, when asked who is your market, if you use the words: anybody, everybody and somebody in your answer, you will get nobody. Don’t ever market to everyone. Why? Because a 23 year old female does not by the same item for the same reasons a 65 year old woman does; never mind a 55 year old man.
Focus on 3 target markets, then go after those, individually. You will get much greater results and you will be able to do value building marketing versus price marketing. Price Marketing is, “55 to 70% off NOW!” If you don’t want to be the lowest priced at what you do, then stop marketing that way. Value marketing is about quality, convenience, reliability, safety, security, guarantees, warranties, etc. In my opinion, NO small business should be selling based on price. There is not enough profit in it and and more than likely, not enough volume. Not to mention, that you will not be able to compete with the big boys.
2. Don’t Sell, Hire Clients
I am sure you have heard the saying, “Everyone likes to buy, nobody likes to be sold to.” So, stop selling. Use a consultative selling process. See what your prospect really needs to solve his/her problem and see if you can help. If so, then discuss it with them. Don’t tell them how great and wonderful you are, ask them what they are looking for in a company. Why they would be interested in your company. What is most important to them when working with a company like yours. These type of questions really help them to build a relationship with you and see value in you.
You also want to find out about them. The last thing you need is a client that is a real pain and now you have to deal with them for the duration of the transaction you have with them. There are some clients that are just not worth the effort. You are allowed to take on clients and say no to clients, just as if you are hiring them. (Side Note: I would recommend you fire a couple of clients this year. Only keep your easy to work with, profitable clients.)
3. Go from Customer Service to Customer Experience
Serving your client means to make their transaction with you enjoyable, so it encourages them to do business with you again. How is that a bad thing? It’s not. However, going from Customer Service to Customer Experience is about engaging your customer with all their senses and having them emotionally connect with your business.
When someone has a truly engaging Customer Experience they fall in love with your business. They want to tell others about it. They find excuses to use you again. This type of word of mouth, and loyalty is worth its weight in gold. If you can have every client you work with refer 3 other people to your business, you will grow at an exponential rate. This leads to great success and profitability.
4. Make Your Website Work for You
Don’t tell me you do not have a website. If you don’t have a website you are just not in business. When I know a business does not have a website, I don’t consider them a serious business. Yes, there are those dinosaur businesses that have been around forever and are doing well with no website, but they are the exception, not the rule. As well as they are doing, I will tell you that they are losing business. Guaranteed.
The website is one of the single greatest marketing strategies for businesses in the last 100 years. If you want part of your client base to consist of men and women 55 or below and you do not have a website then you have no idea how much money you are now losing. There is no reason to not have a website IT IS A MUST. If and when you do have one, then you have to market it and drive people to it. Don’t assume people are going to find it or look for it on their own.
If I had to advise you to invest your time, energy and money into only one form of marketing this year (depending on your business) on the top of my list would be digital technology: website, social media, internet marketing.
5. Be the CEO, Not the Business Owner
“As the Business Owner I am the CEO, aren’t I?” By title, yes. However, I am talking about the mentality, the mindset. Business Owners are involved in daily operations. Putting out fires and doing what needs to be done, today. CEOs think about where the business is going to be in 3 to 5 years and how it is going to get there. They are the strategist and look at the overall business and design the plan that will take the least amount of effort with the greatest result, in the shortest amount of time. Business Owners work in the business everyday. CEOs are able to step back and work On the business.
If you really want to earn more, work less and enjoy the process then you have to improve yourself as a leader…..as a CEO.