BBB offers the following small business marketing tips
Two things are vital for any business: loyal, satisfied customers and a steady stream of new prospects. Keeping your current customers happy and increasing sales by finding new ones doesn’t have to mean spending money.
The Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF), a BBB National Partner, has some great suggestions for accomplishing those tasks. Although DSEF focuses on companies that offer direct selling opportunities for consultants, their tips are relevant to just about any small business.
DSEF recommends the following ways of increasing sales without increasing spending:
- Identify top customers and offer them more. You likely have loyal customers who spend more on a regular basis than others. Identify those people and offer them more than they already get. For example, start a VIP program where top customers receive special promotions, incentives or exclusive access to new products and services. When your top customers know how much they are appreciated, they will not only embrace that “VIP” role by patronizing your business more often, but they will want to share their positive experience with their families and friends. Superior customer service can have far-reaching effects on your overall business.
- Customize your sales pitch for each client. Each client is an individual and should be treated as such. Don’t go with a generic sales pitch that every single client hears. Do some research about each person and incorporate something personal about him or her into your pitch, especially if it’s something you share (an interest in sports, or a community activity). When you can relate to clients on a personal level, they will be assured that you have their best interests in mind.
- Increase goals for referrals and sales will increase. Bump up your goals for getting referrals. It doesn’t have to be a large jump, but setting the bar higher will motivate you to work harder. Instead of shooting for five a week, increase your goal to seven or eight. Make the time in your schedule to meet this new goal, and you’ll find that your sales will increase steadily over time. Each time you find that you are meeting the goal on a consistent basis, consider raising it again. Your business should never run in a straight line, but should always be heading in an upward direction to maintain growth and success.
- Interact personally with customers more frequently. This may come easier in a retail business, but no matter what type of business you run, make the effort to interact with customers on a personal level as often as possible. Learn their names and one or two facts about them. People love going into a place where they feel like more than just a number. For example, a deli customer reported becoming a regular after the owner greeted her by name, asked about her daughters and served her “the usual.” Getting to know your customers makes them feel comfortable and will help you make sure they keep coming back.
Find ways to improve on what already works for you, break out of your comfort zone, and always look to set the bar higher for yourself and your business.