With all the sales, marketing, and advertising options out there, how do you know what will really help your business grow and prosper? Our friends at Qualified Merchant used their 20+ years of experience in business finance and came up with 3 of the most effective ways that their clients have grown their business.
[Originally published email series from Qualified Merchant]
1. Unbelievable Customer Service
Train your staff to love your customers as much as you do. This can be done effectively by letting your employees know what is at stake. Not only does their employment rely on satisfied customers continuing to do business with you, but also they should be rewarded for going above and beyond to help out a customer in distress. Gone are the days when employees that do a satisfactory job will keep your business running. Customers expect more, therefore businesses need to give more – so employees that show exceptional customer services should be shown that they are valuable.
Ask for customer feedback. Many companies are reluctant to ask for customer feedback for fear of receiving a bad review. Asking for feedback is powerful in two ways: (1) It shows people that you care what they think and that you are willing to make the necessary changes to improve your services to them (2) if there is negative feedback, it gives you the chance to show them (and others) that you care by making things right – and in turn extending that customers “purchasing life” with your business.
Host parties for your customers. Show your customers that you love them and want them to be happy. Go beyond the typical holiday party and host a holiday party inviting them and their friends. This will get more people in the door and keep them thinking about you.
2. Solid Marketing Plan
Plan weekly. Planning ahead is necessary, but things change so quickly these days that planning in too much detail too far ahead may be a waste of time. Have your long term marketing goals set, but sit down and plan your week while making necessary changes. If one marketing effort is failing, change it, or get rid of it completely.
Make a calendar. In our fast-paced digital world, it is easy to be overwhelmed with marketing platforms. Create a calendar to ensure that you and your employees stay on track with Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. Likewise, make sure your staff knows when TV, radio, and print advertisements are running so they are not caught off-guard when a customer stops in with a coupon or asking about a particular deal.
Create a budget. Even if it’s a small one, plan what you can afford to spend on marketing and go full throttle with it until you see what works. Mistakes hold value and will only educate you.
3. Proactive Business Development
Build strategic relationships. Develop business relationships with companies whose customers might buy from both of you. You are providing these customers with more solutions than one of you alone typically could – they won’t forget.
Use LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a powerful tool to reach out to potential business professionals and can lead to profitable relationships. Shoot a message to someone on LinkedIn and offer to take him or her out for coffee.
Attend networking events. There is no better place to meet people to do business with than an event where everyone is looking to make relationships. Ask your local chamber or an industry organization where they are hosting an upcoming event. Make sure you bring lots of business cards and practice your elevator speech.
Using these strategies can effectively grow your business into a trusted, customer-focused, industry leader. Now get going and open the flood gates to tons of new customers!