Category: Small Business

How Well Do You Know Your Suppliers?

 

It’s extremely important to build relationships with your suppliers and those around you, it can help bring in new customers/clients and increase awareness of your company branding.

The people you work directly with on your products and services are really the ones with the most to gain when you find success. By taking the time to get to know them, you’ll find a whole host of opportunities you didn’t realize were there.

Look for great ways to offer your suppliers rewards for helping grow your business, your growth can help them grow, so everyone wins. One of the ways you can do this is by offering performance-based incentives that are much larger than their normal charges.

Here’s a step-by-step process to putting together a partnership with a supplier:

  1. Approach all the suppliers you work with and offer an incentive based on performance.
  2. Put the generous incentive plan together from their perspective, even take suggestions.
  3. Develop a clear, concise and easy to track incentive plan, this will increase competition between suppliers and therefore result in higher performance levels.
  4. Encourage subsequent sales instead of focusing only on the initial sale. By doing this you can give away more of the profit from the initial sale to your suppliers and make higher profits off the back-end products. This will help:
  • Future sales
  • To upsell better and more profitable products/services
  • To cross-sell to additional products

5. Create an incentive plan that’s irresistible to your suppliers by offering generous, exclusive compensation.

Think of all the suppliers you work with and the creative ways you can put together an incentive plan that entices them to be part of your business. Use their talents, capabilities and connections and you’ll both be winners.

Putting together an incentive plan doesn’t have to be a complicated process. For free expert advice, just send us your question Click here.

 

3 Strategies to adapt your business to the new normal…

One year into COVID-19 and with all the changes we had seen in the last 12 months around consumer behaviours, all business owners are asking themselves “Which changes are permanent?”

Google’s latest trend report highlight three consumer trends emerging that businesses should keep in mind as they move forward:

  1. The pandemic has accelerated existing shifts in behaviour

  2. People need more help than ever navigating choice complexity

  3. People want relevant content and ads that respect their privacy

These trends are here to stay and this is how businesses can respond:

Everything is speeding up. The pandemic only has accelerated customer behavioural changes that were largely already underway. Google has seen this acceleration in search volumes. For example, search interest for the term “ideas” increased significantly in 2020 and continues to grow in 2021. The trend shows people are moving online for inspiration for shopping, cooking, and so much more.

Demand also shifted dramatically as people broke old habits. For example, swaps in search interest from “smart casual” to “lounge wear”.

Even now, customer behaviours remain unpredictable. For example, we’ve seen interest for “grocery stores” and “takeaways” unexpectedly shift to weekdays. The age-old phrase — “Change is the only constant” — certainly applies.

2. Be fast and helpful

We’ve all seen the value of being fast and helpful. The fact that consumer decision-making is increasingly complex and more and more businesses entered the online arena, means customers need more help than ever navigating the purchase journey. This presents a huge opportunity for businesses to differentiate themselves, be helpful and present at the right time. They can provide consumers with the information and reassurance they need to make the right decisions at different stages of their buying journey. Automation can enable you to be there when needed, as well as to be agile enough to seize the opportunity to help consumers. Remember, only 1 to 10% of prospects are in the final stage of the buyers’ journey (choose supplier).

3. Build trust, every time

People’s behavioural shifts have been accompanied by rising expectations for relevance and online privacy. Brands have to work to build trust, every time.

A Google/Euroconsumer study has found nearly 70% of respondents believe the amount of personal data collected online makes it difficult for them to protect their privacy. Other research from 2020 shows 86% of consumers want more transparency over how their personal information is used.

This is not only relevant when it comes to online ads, when consumers prefer relevant, not random, ad experiences. They also expect businesses to deliver factual and interesting content to keep them engage.

Everything changes but the Key Principles of Marketing stay!

As consumer behaviours keep changing, new tools are being developed to help businesses and marketers better understand customer needs and respond more effectively.  However, the basic principles of marketing, still stand:

  • Who is my customer?
  • Which problem do they have (they don’t want)?
  • Which solution do they need (they don’t have)?
  • Which stage of the buying journey are they are? and finally
  • Why would they trust you?Find what matters to your customers

As we look to find what matters in this changed environment, brands that keep these three consumer trends — and three business opportunities — top-of-mind will be able to approach decisions with greater clarity and confidence:

  • Embrace acceleration
  • Be fast and helpful
  • Build trust, every time

Do you want to nail the basic principles of marketing? Check this video why all you know about marketing for small businesses is wrong



DISCLAIMER: All data comes from Think Google

Kick Start Your Marketing

Today We’d like to teach you about the three most important start up marketing tools you need to get and keep new customers.

  1. In person: It’s essential you meet with customers/clients in person whenever possible. This shows you respect them and take the time to work with your clients to give personal attention to each of them.
  2. Follow up letter: Always take a moment to send a follow up letter about what you talked about, new agreements or partnerships made and to thank them for taking the time to meet with you. Likewise, you should always send thank you letters or small gifts to partners you find success with.
  3. Phone call: Use a telephone call to follow up with them to talk again about the matters you talked about in your meeting and offer any assistance you can to help their business run smoothly and more successfully.

None of these will work if you don’t have a quality product/service to back you up!

Here are the key steps for putting together your start-up marketing tools:

  1. Research potential customers, buyers, competitors and their preferred methods of distribution.
  2. Talk to potential customers. Take a hard look at your product from a customer’s perspective and see what it needs to be successful.
  3. Follow up with your 3-step process from above.
  4. Develop systems for contact follow through, quality control standards and customer service.
  5. Develop post-sale follow up system to keep lines of communication open is customers and build on your current relationship which increases future purchases.

“Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs” Peter Drucker, management consultant

Here’s another one We love from an icon:

“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.” Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor Company

This lesson has offered you the tools to put together a start-up marketing plan that can be used over and over again to help your customer base and business grow in a manageable way.

Stop Wasting Your Resources!

Today you’re going to learn how to find a target market of potential customers so you aren’t wasting precious resources on blitz marketing. So, the two questions you have to ask yourself are:
  • What do people really want to buy from me?
  • What related products are they already buying?
Once you figure this out you will know who is more predisposed to purchase your products/services. Then, you find other businesses with the same customer base who you can customer share with. Come up with an incentive and great arrangement to encourage both of your customer bases to shop at both of your stores. The basic concept is this: You want to find existing businesses who have the customer profile that you are looking for to market your products/services to. Then strike up a relationship with those business owners to work out an incentive for customers to purchase from both businesses. As a result, you have an audience to market to and they generate an added value from their current base. So, how do you figure this out? There is a great formula from Jay Abraham you can follow with great success. LV = (P x F) x N – MC Here’s what it all means:
  • LV is the life time value of a customer
  • P is the average profit margin from each sale
  • F is the number of times a customer buys each year
  • N is the number of years customers stay with you
  • MC is the marketing cost per customer (total costs/number of customers)
Once you know how much you need to spend to attract a new customer, you will know how much of an incentive you can offer to a business to help attract new customers. So, here’s your step-by-step process:
  1. Find companies who already have the customer base you are looking for.
  2. Negotiate an incentive for them to share that customer base with you.
  3. Focus your marketing resources to this group of predisposed customers.
If you need help working through this process, please contact us and we’ll set you up with the most comprehensive system of marketing tools and resources.

Educate Your Customers

Educate them about what, you may be thinking. Well, consider this, many businesses focus solely on attracting new customers, but you NEED to spend a good chunk of your time retaining current and former customers. These are people you already know to be a good sales potential…they’ve already bought from you!

Take the time to market and sell new products to your old customers and less time trying to sell old products to new customers and you will see a drastic change in your sales, customer quality and branding position.

Here are a couple of key elements to use to retain your current customers:

  1. Stay in contact: This means by phone, email, e-newsletter, in person-by pigeon if you have too!
  2. Post-Purchase Assurance: This means you need to follow up with customers. Your customers need to feel like they are being supported for their purchase and with the item they purchased. How many times have you purchased a product, then felt completely abandoned? Something as simple as a Thank You note with your contact or customer service information can go along way in retaining a great customer.
  3. Deals & Guarantees: Always offer your current customers the best deals and guarantees you have. Show them you appreciate their business or even come up with a club specifically to reward loyal customers. You can also do this with a preferred pricing option.
  4. Integrity: Using good business practices and simply upholding integrity, dignity and honesty go along way with customers. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of swindling and crap out there and the safer and more confident you make your customers feel, the more they will trust you and that makes for an amazingly supportive and loyal customer.

There are three cornerstone ideas to a successful business:

  • Quality product/service
  • Offering useful products/services that solve a problem for or enhance the life of a customer
  • Offer subjects your customers find interesting

Use this approach of educating your customers and offering them real information and insight and you will be rewarded with loyalty and success.

Stop wasting all your time on new prospects while your current customers fall by the wayside!

As Jay Abraham says, “Your best prospects are your existing customers. If you’ve been putting all your marketing efforts into acquiring new customers, stop and diverts some of your resources into reselling, upselling, cross-selling to those same customers. In every ways possible – through package inserts, regular mailings, special offers – stay in touch with those customers and get them used to buying from you.”

So, there it is! Remember, we can help you put together the resources and tools to do exactly that. We can help you educate your customers and you can watch the benefits pay offer many-fold.

Lessons I Learned from Paris Hilton

Today we’ll talk about shameless self-promotion. That’s right, We said it! Shameless! After all, we are learning from Paris Hilton here.

It’s all about self-promotion! Self-promotion comes in many forms and you can use different tactics to get your name out there. Look at politicians! Talk about self-promotion and in some not so discreet ways, at that. But, seriously, consider some of the major superstars we all know. Madonna, Donald Trump, Howard Stern and Bill Clinton, just to name a few.

We all self promote. Did you raise your hand in class to show the teacher you knew the answer? Of course! That’s self-promotion. This is the kind of self-promotion we are talking about. With dignity, class and the knowledge to back it up. If you self-promote only to prove you don’t really know what you’re talking about, you’re going to lose business.

Natural self-promoters are the former and We want to tell you about the three major traits they have and use to build themselves and their businesses.

  1. The first is position. You need to position yourself around people who can make a difference in your life. You need to do this frequently. You need to wake up every morning and ask yourself “Who can I meet today who will make a difference in my success?” In fact, go a step further, write it in big, bold letters and tape it on your bathroom mirror.

Also consider:

Who can help me meet my goals?

Is it a prospective customer/client? A colleague with contacts? An association with key members who may become prospects?

Don’t settle into interacting with the people who are the easiest to access. You need to reach outside your comfort zone and there you will find a wealth of new connections that will bring you great success.

  1. Now, let’s talk about Style. No, this doesn’t mean you need an Armani suit to bring in more business (though, let’s be honest-it wouldn’t hurt) ☺ What this really means is how are you different from your competitors and others in your industry. What makes you memorable with customers?

If you are meeting a lot of people and they don’t remember you once you leave the room, you have a serious problem! This means you have an opportunity to present yourself in a more memorable way.

There are lots of little subtle changes you can make. Reassess your:

  • Business cards
  • Company message
  • Your picture
  • Your wording

Maybe even, your hairstyle (of course, now we’re back to the expensive suit, but it really works!)

You get the idea. There are lots of little ways you can work on making your image and business more successful. Also, consider how you sound on the phone and how you great people at meetings or other events. Think about your 30-sec elevator speech.

  1. The third trait of natural promoters is repetition. You can’t say it once and leave it at that. Successful self-promoters say it as many times as they need until they get a response. Would you remember a commercial for Coca-Cola if you only saw it once, no! You see it over and over and eventually you head out to the store.

You, also, have to make multiple impressions on those you are networking with in order to build brand awareness. Repetition is in direct connection with positioning. Once you find people to network with, reach out and find hundreds more who can help in your success as well.